By Aileen Kwaragu
ROSE-LEE Numa is only 22 but has represented the country at international competitions in the sports she loves – sailing.
As a teenager in 2011, she completed in her first international competition during the 2011 Pacific Games in New Caledonia.
In 2013 she won her first medal at the Mini Pacific Games in Wallis and Fatuna.
In 2015, she won silver at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
In 2019, she competed at the Pacific Games in Samoa.
This year, she is preparing to compete in the Olympic Games in Japan.
She began sailing at a very early age with her dad and siblings.
“I started sailing like it was just a hobby. My aunt, late Janet Numa, operated a sailing school called the Boothless Bay Sailing School at Gereka outside Port Moresby. So my life of sailing literally started there.”
Sailing runs through the whole family. Dad Graham represented the country twice at the Olympics.
He is the currently the president of Sailing PNG.
He was Rose-Lee’s coach before handing over the responsibility to her brother Raymond last year.
Younger brother Teariki has also qualified to represent PNG at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Rose-Lee is the eighth eldest of 10 siblings from a mixed parentage of Central and Gulf.
She recently qualified for the Tokyo Olympics after competing at the World Laser Championship in Melbourne, Australia, finishing second in the Oceania quota.
“ Sailing began as just a hobby but now look where it’s taking me. I am so thankful to my parents Graham Numa and Michelle Sarufa Numa. Without their support for me, financially, mentally and spiritually, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
She became the second Papua New Guinean to secure a spot in the world’s premier international sporting event, the Olympic Games 2020.
She has been sailing for more than 10 years. This year will be the eighth time for her to take part in a top-level competition.
Through sailing, she has enjoyed travelling to other countries. She took part in the World Sailing Cup in Spain in 2014 and the Youth World Sailing at Malaysia in 2015.
“Sailing began as just a hobby but now look where it’s taking me. I am so thankful to my parents Graham Numa and Michelle Sarufa Numa. Without their support for me, financially, mentally and spiritually, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
She also thanks the PNG Olympic Committee and the PNG Sports Foundation for having trust in her and supporting her all along. Rose-Lee will be undertaking training schedules from now till the Olympic Games scheduled for July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo, Japan.
She is currently in Australia undergoing a one-week training.
Rose-Lee is particularly proud of the achievement of her younger brother Teariki.
“I am the proudest sister. I wish him the very best in the Olympic Games. I trust he will do his best and make us all proud.”
She adores all her siblings who all love the sport.
“We literally grew up just sailing. I want to thank my brothers and sisters for always been there for me during good and bad times.”
It is the kind of support which makes Rose-Lee more determined to continue riding the waves and flying the flag for her family and country.