The National, Friday, April 29, 2011
WITH four months to go until Team PNG take part in the 2011 New Caledonia Pacific Games, 23 sports have confirmed their final squads.
PNG chef de mission Tamzin Wardley confirmed that teams had been registered for 23 of the 27 sports on offer at the Games.
“This will be our largest ever travelling contingent to a Pacific Games and is part of our lead-up when we host the Games in 2015,” she said.
“We’ve decided to send our biggest contingent to show our support for the Games, as the next host, and as a final test to see where we stand in the Pacific so that we can see how much training and work lies ahead as we prepare for 2015.
Wardley said K3 million had been allocated in the 2011 budget to ensure the team’s participation.
“Teams travelling include strong medal contenders as well as junior development squads that are expected to peak in four years.
“Cricket, for example, is sending its development squad, though we expect they will do very well against the other Pacific nations given their improved world standing.
“The three sports that we have not entered are badminton, baseball and shooting as PNG does not have any athletes in these three sports and karate has been dropped as we did not have any information.
“Karate still has a week to appeal but, sadly, they seem to have no administration in place at the moment.”
Sports have been holding selection trials and championships over the last few weeks in order to select their final squads and Wardley congratulated the athletes selected.
Some sports are yet to hold further trials to reduce their squads.
The finalised names of athletes travelling must be submitted to the organisers in Noumea by June 27 and the PNG Justification Committee will be reviewing the final list over the next few weeks.
The Pacific Games Council, at its annual general meeting this month, announced a shock reversal of its former stance on participation by non-citizens and has allowed the inclusion of non-citizens where they have previously competed for PNG prior to the rule change in 2006. Wardley said she did not expect this to affect the team and with only four months to go, it was unlikely any of the final squads would be changed.
“There is still a huge task ahead of us to prepare the team for Noumea.
“The team of more than 400 athletes and officials all have to get through medical and fitness testing as well as continue training with the very limited funds available.
“The promised funding for training, under the Grassroots to Gold programme, has not been received and sports have had to make do with the limited funding from their own sports and the Olympic Solidarity programme.”
The PNG Sports Federation is raising the additional funds required to get the team to Noumea including the Trukai FunRun auctions held last month in Port Moresby and Lae and the deferred Prime Minister’s Golf Challenge.
Travelling athletes and officials are still being required to raise a participant levy of K2,000 each in order to cover the full costs of the team.
The 23 sports PNG will participate in are the compulsory sports: athletics, weightlifting, swimming, basketball, tennis, volleyball, table tennis, soccer, beach volleyball, golf, va’a and rugby 7s; and optional sports: bodybuilding, squash, shooting, sailing, cricket, powerlifting, boxing, taekwondo, triathlon, surfing and archery.