We did it for PNG


THE returning Team PNG contingent were given a resounding welcome yesterday, particularly weightlifting heroes Steven Kari, Dika Toua and Morea Baru at Jackson Airport, in Port Moresby.
Gold medallist in the 94kg division Kari, silver medallists Dika Toua (women’s 53kg) and Morea Baru (men’s 62kg) each proudly wore their medals as friends, family, fans and PNG Olympic Committee members met them.
The Hanuabada trio arrived along with PNGOC president Sir John Dawanincura and secretary-general Auvita Rapilla.
As the weightlifters stepped off the plane, they could hear the Motu Koita chants with the kundu beat as Kari held his head high and waved to the public while Toua broke down with tears of joy.
As they walked towards the vehicles prior to the motorcade, the Papua New Guinea flag was flown by many who gathered to welcome the heroes.
“Firstly, I want to thank God for helping me get my second gold medal at the Commonwealth Games,” a jubilant 24-year-old Kari said.
“It is always an honour to represent PNG and I want to thank the people of this country for supporting me all the way.
“I’m feeling excited because I defended the title and put PNG on the world map once again.
“I know I broke the record and people have been talking about it but I just wanted to go out there and get gold, nothing else.
“My mind was on the gold. I wasn’t thinking of the record, but I did it all at once not for myself but for PNG.”
Kari’s mentor and coach, Douglas Mea, from Hanuabada, was a happy man with tears of joy when he saw his nephew return to a hero’s welcome.
Mea said the trio had made Hanuabada a proud village for its continuous contribution to Team PNG’s success in weightlifting.
Other Team PNG athletes who arrived yesterday were the boxers, lawn bowlers, athletics team, rugby sevens side, swimmers, shooters, table tennis and the squash players.

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