PM splashes on sports

Normal, Sports

The National, Friday 14th June 2013

 PRIME Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday gave K15 million to National Events, Sports and Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko for the Sports Enhancement Programme.

The money which was part of the PNG Sports Foundation’s annual budgetary allocation for 2013 was finally delivered at an impromptu announcement after a media briefing on his four-day state visit to Indonesia starting on Sunday.

The money forms a large slice of the K20 million approved by Parliament for the enhancement programme which was initiated by Tkatchenko last year upon numerous  requests and pleas from codes out in the provinces and districts.

Tkatchenko iterated that the money was not for the Pacific Games preparation per se, but would complement other initiatives such as the Grassroots to Gold (G4G) programme already in existence and funded separately by the Government.

“This money is to support sports at the district and provincial level. 

“It will go to areas such as helping to run competitions, improving infrastructure and facilities for a wide range of codes out in the settlements and rural areas,” Tkatchenko said. 

O’Neill said while so much money was being spent on infrastructure for the 2015 Pacific Games, preparation of sports men and women in all areas was just as important.

“We have to make sure our sports are helped,” he said.

“There’s no point building all this infrastructure and we win no medals.

“To help build this enhancement programme for our sportsmen and women, the government has put K15 million aside.

“Today, it is my pleasure to announce that we are making this presentation to the Sports Foundation, for them to start use to help develop all our potential athletes so that they can get better and go on to represent the country in the coming games and beyond.

“Sports are one of our key investments in the country.

“We’re investing heavily in rugby league, all other sports throughout the country, this is a reflection of our strong commitment in delivering sports as an option for development in our country.”

Tkatchenko said sports such as hockey, rugby league boxing, netball and rugby union had all received assistance from the SEP which he said would now be able to help more sports set strong foundations for success and achievement.

“It’s not just about the next big event, but about helping expose all the talented sports men and women in the provinces, by helping fund areas that don’t normally receive anything from the government,” Tkatchenko said.