WHP athletics accept withdrawal decision


ATHLETES of team Western Highlands formally came together last Friday and agreed to accept the decision of the provincial sports council to withdraw from the 7th PNG Games.
The athletes led by the chairman of the Mt Hagen district sports association Simon Kama officially pulled out after waiting for a “Good Samaritan” to come in the eleventh hour last Friday.
Since the chairman of the provincial council Steven Moka and general team manager Peter Nepiel made the official announcement to withdraw two weeks ago, the athletes and Kama took it upon themselves to lobby the provincial government and sponsors for funding to make their participation at the PNG Games possible.
Last Friday at 2.30pm the athletes gathered in Mt Hagen and officially accepted their fate.
Kama said they could not do much since the sports council had withdrawn but they had made a last-minute effort anyway.
“We could not do much but this will now teach us a lesson on getting ready early and securing the funding support needed time for the future games,” Kama said.
“I know the athletes are disaapointed because they trained for the games and were looking forward to it.”
Kama said the political leaders and the business houses in the province had let them down.
“We have so many good athletes who have performed well at the last games and we were aiming to improve our standing at the Kimbe Games but we won’t even get to send a small team,” Kama said.
He said the province had several athletes who were knocking on the door of the national team and their absence from the games meant they would not get that opportunity to push for selection.
Powerlifter Kevin Kombra said the athletes had a right to defend their titles and for the new ones to get exposed to a major event.
“Our athletes put in a lot of time and effort to preparing for the games and some set themselves goals to win medals while for others it would be their first time and a learning experience,” Kombra said.
He said he found it disappointing and embarrassing not to be able to attend the games.