The National, Wednesday 22nd May 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
THE Oceania Cup regional rugby union tournament has now been given national billing.
Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko has rewarded the efforts of the Papua New Guinea Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) management with the confirmation that the National Executive Council (NEC) has classed the forthcoming tournament as a national event.
“It will be bigger and better than it already is,” Tkatchenko said.
“The National Government now recognises this regional tournament and for that rugby union will benefit twice over with the opening of new doors,” he said.
The Oceania Cup is slated for July 1-14 in Port Moresby.
The tournament will feature visiting sides the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tahiti with the winner securing a World Cup qualifier against Fiji.
To add icing to the cake and not to mention the cheek to cheek grin from elated PNGRFU president Richard Sapias, Tkatchenko committed a further K200,000 towards staging the event.
The funding has been sourced from the office of the Sports Ministry sports enhancement programme.
The Moresby South MP said rugby union is a classic example of a sport that has gone out of its way to get its house in order administratively.
“This is why rugby union is now reaping the rewards to enhance their code,” he said.
During the announcement made on Monday night, the Moresby South MP commended the PNGRFU management and people behind the scenes for their role in cleaning up their image.
He further clarified that the K20 million approved NEC funding for the sports enhancement programme is not only for national sports but also for competitions and facilities at all levels.
He confirmed that they have already rolled out up K1 million in the last few weeks, specifically towards sports preparations towards the 2015 Pacific Games.
Sapias thanked Tkatchenko for being positive towards their administrative efforts as the funding plays an important role in building their blocks in the 15s game.