By Godwin Eki – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Fifteen Netball Associations in the Hiri District in Port Moresby gathered to celebrate the official opening of a netball festival that will run for five days.
The festival was launched to revive traditional relationships and develop friendship through sports. The opening ceremony itself brought together netball enthusiasts, young and old, from thirteen netball associations.
Netball teams were seen flaunting colourful costumes in a parade outside the netball courts. The procession was led by the ‘Green Machine’ from Gaire Village, with Team Barakau , barefoot, in orange tops and traditional woven hats marching behind.
To launch the festival, selected villages performed traditional songs that told stories of the Hiri trade between the Central and Gulf villages. It was seen as a means to rekindle a sense of traditional relations that would hopefully inspire a similar kind of friendship through sports.
Community Development Support Manager Debbie Maraki said the festival was launched in the hope of exposing young netball talents in the village and helping them develop their skills to new heights. Seeing young players grow to become better players is also at the forefront of the Hiri Netball Association.
The Festival tournament kicked off today, with young players competing in their divisions, from U13 to U15, U17, and U21. Seniors competed in the Masters’ division.
Exxon Mobil, Kumul Petroleum Holdings, Laba Holdings, Curtain Brothers, Fairfax Legal and Gas Resource limited were acknowledged for having a hand in launching the inaugural Hiri Netball Festival. Chair and Director of Kumul Petroleum Holdings, Sir Moi Avei had the honours of officially launching the Festival.