TEAM Central has been in intensive training since last month with the aim of finishing in the top three at the PNG Games this year.
Team manager Charles Inapi is optimistic that the 349 athletes, who have been in camp since Oct 14, have gelled well in their respective sports to take up the challenge against their opponents from other centres.
“We are confident of winning medals in rugby league 9s, boxing, volleyball and netball where we are strong,” Inapi said.
The side will also be out to defend its rugby league 9s title for the third consecutive year, while boxing and women’s volleyball are hopeful of medals playoff.
Team Central will be competing in 17 of the 21 sports.
It has engaged specialist athletes in various sports to represent Team Central to boost its chances of winning medals.
The boxing side is dominated by men and women boxers from Mekeo. It has the home crowd advantage and their opponents will be tough to stop.
Paralympics team coach Ripa Kalamo said they would be relying on 16-year-old sprint sensation Martin Naime to be a surprise package at the event.
Naime, who will be competing in the 100m and 200m sprints, is likely to be a future star in disable sports.
The inclusion of PNG Pukpuks 7s specialist Kojo Ware in the rugby squad has strengthen its chances of coming up with exceptional results while in cricket, Marshall Lagoon village team will be representing Team Central.
Marshall Lagoon are reknown cricketers and will be out to prove their worth against their traditional rivals Team NCD in limited overs.
Unlike other provincial teams who are currently faced with financial struggles, Team Central are now in their final mental preparations before the battle begins next Thursday.
Meanwhile, Team Western will be out in the games to claim the netball title with its ladies clinching the biggest upset at the national netball titles in Manus early this year.