RYAN Pini finished a credible fifth in the final of the 50m butterfly on Tuesday night but Team PNG chef de Mission, Tamzin Wardley hopes that the country does not expect too much from him.
She said that Team PNG was behind Pini when competing in his events but the weight of expectations might be unrealistic given Pini’s build-up to the Games.
“Everyone in the team knows the pressure he is under due to the expectations of the people back home.
“I think everyone obviously wants him to win gold again, or a medal at least because of how good it made everyone in PNG feel when it happened four years ago.
“Four years is a long time though, and since the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Ryan has had two shoulder surgeries,” she said.
“He is swimming really well but his aim for the Games is to make the finals and then give it his absolute best,” Wardley said.
Team Pini is all here supporting Ryan as they do for all his international and PNG competitions.
They were all excited on Tuesday when he qualified for the 50m butterfly.
His parents, brother, Jason, coach, Frederick Van de Zant, PNG first secretary in India, Karo Rupa and PNG Sports Foundation (PNGSF) chief executive officer Iammo Launa and members of the PNG team were in the Mukhurjee Aquatic complex to cheer him on.
Pini finished in finished fifth in the final with winner Jason Dunford (23.35) of Kenya holding off favourite Geoff Huegill (23.37) in second and South African Roland Schoeman (23.44) in third.
Pini also qualified for the 100m freestyle semi-final on Tuesday finishing sixth overall in the heats however, he pulled out from this event as it was too close to the 50m butterfly final.
The 100m butterfly heats start today with Pini swimming in heat five while compatriot Peter Pokawin will swim in heat one.
Pini, who is the defending champion over 100m, will once agin face stiff competition from Dunford, Huegill and possibly Schoeman.
The semi-finals will be held after the heats today with the final tomorrow.