By Scott Waide – EM TV Lae Bureau Chief
When the 6th PNG Games Lae ends in 14 days, what will linger in the minds of the audience is the spectacular opening ceremony that drew inspiration from a cross section of the Morobe Province.
The ceremony began with a parade by the Lae based engineering battalion – a historically rich and proud outfit – that is slowly seeing a greater recognition of its role in nation building.
The battalion, with fresh young faces, presented a proud display of military protocols and discipline. Four soldiers rappelled down a rope from a chopper bearing the ceremonial games trophy. When they exited, the crowd gave them a standing ovation worthy of warriors.
Then the horses came. Morobe’s vast grassland, valleys and, of course, cattle farms, were represented by 23 horsemen each bearing a provincial flag and the nation’s red, black and gold.
The Morobe show is arguably the biggest event every year in Lae City. But the 6th PNG games are even bigger.Ten thousand athletes and thousands more supporters, family and friends have come to Lae to celebrate, not just a sporting event, but a uniting cultural gathering of a national scale.
Many of the teams have taken several days to get here.The Hela team for example, took too days to get to Lae with each member paying for their own way to be in time for the games.
The colours displayed yesterday have been nothing short of extraordinary.The teams came, each with a war cry and each with the own provincial character, proudly displayed as they marched into the stadium.
This party will be remembered at least for the next two years.The organisers setting a bench mark for other PNG games that will come later.