The National, Monday 20th August, 2012
By HENRY MORABANG
THE Papua New Guinea Sports Federation and Olympics Committee (PNGSFOC) will require a minimum investment of A$50,000 (K100,000) per athlete per annum over a four-year period rather than the usual six to 12 months intensive training before an Olympic Games.
It would cost PNG tax payers an estimated K400,000 per athlete over a four-year period towards winning a medal in Rio de Janeiro 2016. PNGSFOC president Sir John Dawanincura was blunt with his message during the welcome function for 2012 London Team PNG in Port Moresby last Friday.
“When it comes to the Olympic Games, I used to say that we do not have any false expectations about medals but it is time to change that to a vision, over the next four years to win a medal in Rio 2016.”
Sir John said athletes taking part in more competitions would be a big part of preparation and this would add significantly to the budget.
He said this would also stand us in good stead for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
Sir John also acknowledged Justin Tkatchencko’s appointment as Sports Minister and the Pacific Games. He said his office was looking forward in working with the Moresby South MP in the coming years.
Sir John said by taking part in the Olympic Games, PNGSFOC was meeting one of the major objectives of the its constitution to give every Papua New Guinean the opportunity to compete overseas not only in their pursuit of excellence, but also the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and see and experience different cultures and lifestyles.
“We are all aware that sports and recreation thus reduce our national health bill and therefore seen as a worthwhile investment,” he said.
Sir John said 1976 to 1996 athletes were not subject to qualification but from year 2000 in Sydney they had to qualify on merit or be given universality invitation. He also commended The National for a very good editorial in last Thursday’s paper, but in putting things in proper perspective only eighty three nations from 204 that participated and won at least a medal:
l Some analyst estimate that it cost Australia $10 million per medal
l Others say that it cost the host nation (Team GB) 264 million pounds (K882 million) for their 29 Gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals.
Sir John said he believed London 2012 surpassed Sydney 2000. He also said the gathering was not to critique performances but to welcome Team PNG back home and thanked all stakeholders and sponsors who made it possible for them to showcase Papua New Guinea not only during the opening ceremony with very colourful uniforms but also at various venues when the PNG flag was flashed across the screens at the main stadium before 80,000 spectators and millions of television viewers.
This is the ninth Olympic Games Team PNG has attended.
He thanked the Chef de Mission Syd Yates, the management team and individual sports officials for their support of theeight athletes in their endeavours to proudly represent PNG to the best of their abilities at the London Games.