Athletics Eyes Medals on Home Soil

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By Tere Alex – EM TV, Port Moresby

The PNG Athletics President Tony Green said there are shortages of athletes in horizontal jumps, however he’s optimistic for a medal in high jump, decathlon and pole vault come the 2015 Pacific Games.

Also more hopes in medals for men’s throw, shot-put and javelin as the PNG Athletics Union work towards finalising the 2015 Pacific Games Squad.

85 athletes (50 male and 35 female) were selected into the training squad after the 2014 PNG Games.

Green said the squad will be trimmed down to a final 65 or 70.

Fresh talents were scouted for field events included Timothy Maggie for javelin, Martin Orovo for long distance and Rama Kumilgo for steeplechase.

PNG Athletics is still hunting for potential horizontal jumpers. Hopes in the men’s throws will rest on Debono Paraka who has done well so far in his training and overseas campaign.

The Women’s jumps and heptathlon group will select three athletes each in each event. Nellie Leslie and Delilah Kami clearly have the potential to match Rellie Kaputin in the high jump, but will need blocks of training in Australia where all the necessary equipment and coaching is available.

While more focus will be on fielding a strong contingent in field events, our track specialists will go in as favourites.

Dominated the women’s sprints, hurdles and relays in recent Pacific Games were none other than Toea Wisil, Betty Burua and Sharon Kwarula who will be leading the way, with Donna Koniel and rising star Miriam Peni also showing good form in 2014; the Papua New Guinean girls will be expected to retain their number one ranking.

Competition for the three available places in the men’s 400m will be fierce, with national record-holder Nelson Stone determined to retain his Pacific Games title on home soil and a host of younger athletes out to prove themselves, including Theo Piniau, Kaminiel Matlaun, John Rivan and Kevin Kapmatana.

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