Athletics Strives for More

by Jeremy Mogi – EM TV Sport, Port Moresby

The spectacular success achieved by Athletics PNG at the Pacific Games winning 22 of the 44 gold medals on offer, as well as 19 silver and 16 bronze, was the culmination of ten years of work in developing athletes identified through successive National Championships and the biennial PNG Games.

PNG won eight gold medals in Samoa at the 2007 Games which at the time was our best ever performance at an away Games. Our gold medallists included Sapolai Yao, Mowen Boino , Sharon Kwarula, and Toea Wisil.

With the prospect of a home Games in 2015 Athletics, PNG began serious preparations immediately following the successful Games in Noumea.

Complementing the overseas training programme was a domestic scholarship programme which commenced in Goroka in 2003 and was expanded when it was moved to Lae in 2007.

In all, our team delivered 22 gold 19 silver and 16 bronze out of the 44 medals of each colour on offer. Nineteen members of the team went home with a Gold Medal.

Sprints hurdles and relays have always been PNG’s strength and at these, Games members of the team won 11 gold medals seven silver and five bronze.

Toea Wisil, not only met expectations of the people of PNG, but put on an awesome display of sprintng.

Other athletes of note included Wesley Logorava , Peniel Joshua and Charles Livua.

All three athletes posted significant improvement in their performances with Logorava winning gold in the Mens 4x100m.

Nelson Stone continued his record of delivering at every major Games, despite doubts about his readiness.

Additionally, Debono Paraka won PNG’s first throws medal, since Iamo Launa in 1991, with Slather Kurum placed fourth in the mens javelin with a good personal best 56 metres throw.

Many challenges were faced by Athletics PNG in the lead up to the Games, including the non availability of an athletics track in Port Moresby.

Only the throws group and a couple of sprinters who had study commitmen’s, trained in Port Moresby and were able to take advantage of the High Performance Training Centre.

The priority now has is to establish a National Schools Athletics Programme and use the new facilities to implement and strengthen domestic programmes to draw more athletes into the Sport.

These programmes will provide a develop pathway for athletes , coaches and technical officials, with the hope that they continue what has been built up since 2005 by seeking opportunities and incentives for our top athletes.

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