Nine Athletes on US Track & Field Programme
Athletics PNG has sent a further nine track and field athletes to the United States as part of its plans to prepare its team for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby. The four male and five female athletes will join Sapolai Yao and Paul Pokana at Northern Iowa Area Community College where they will attend full time school and undertake their training for the Games. The athletes are Rellie Kaputin (jumps) Kalama Towarap (middle distance) ; Sharon Toako (Javelin) ; Adrine Monagi and Priscillar John (Sprints and jumps) ; Freddy Hongowori and Veherney Babob (Middle distance) Mong Tavol (jumps) and Joe Matmat (sprints).
Athletics PNG President Tony Green thanked Dan O Connell of the Oceania Foundation for introducing the Junior College programme to PNG through the Foundation’s scholarship programme. Green also thanked the PNG Olympic Committee through its Secretary General Auvita Rapilla for supporting the initiative through the Go for Gold Programme which is funded by the Government
We have tried to cover all disciplines and have been seeking for a year now to identify athletes for this programme, especially in the field events added Green. The programme is designed as a retention strategy as well as to raise performance standards and this is the pathway that we envisage for those younger athletes currently on domestic scholarship within PNG. Cecilia Kumalalamene, Sharon Kwarula and John Rivan all came through the domestic scholarship programme as did Betty Burua , Sapolai Yao and a number of other athletes in the current national squad .
Those athletes who perform well in their two years at Junior College have a very good chance of securing two year scholarships from Universities which will enable them to complete their degrees, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the athletes, said Green
The six athletes pictured are members of the team to Wallis & Futuna and left for Iowa last wednesday with Sharon Kwarula who was on her way to West Texas A&M University. The six athletes will return for the Games after finalising their choice of courses and completing school registration requirements.