By ISAAC LIRI
PAPUA New Guinea swimming legend Ryan Pini, pictured, will maintain a presence to encourage Team PNG’s swimmers who will be gearing up for next year’s Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
At previous games, Pini has always been the main stay for the country in the pool, where he consistently contributes multiple medals for Team PNG.
His absence radically paints a picture that PNG’s young swimmers are in for an uphill struggle against swimmers from New Caledonia, Tahiti and Fiji who have traditionally been competitive at the Pacific Games.
Despite that, Pini is confident that PNG’s young swimmers can regroup and imporve over the next 12 months in preparations for the Games, which according to PNG Olympic Committee, the main aim is to win the Games off shore for the first time.
“I am part of the FINA Athletes Commission so I’ll be at big championships right beside them (PNG swimmers) to help them, push them along and try to encourage them hoping for the best,” Pini said.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on some teams with swimmers like Leonard Kalate and Sam Seghers along the way and hopefully that has rubbed off to them a little bit.
Referring to the recent Oceania Swimming Championships in Port Moresby for the first time (June 26-30), Pini thinks PNG’s young swimmers did well but would have to work harder in the months leading up to the Games.
“It was really good for them to be at home and see what it takes against the likes of Australia and New Zealand,” Pini said.
“Building up a strong team for next year’s Pacific Games, we want to get many of those who performed well at the championships and make sure they’re committed and dedicated to represent PNG next year.
“From my experience, every year is different and every time I use to compete there were always new people to face.
“I am sure our swimmers are up to the challenge, for me, I strived hard for the Pacific Games and that’s what made me a better swimmer.
“But I want to see that transferred to them (young swimmers) so they can push a little bit harder to get some medals.”
By ISAAC LIRI