Two more athletes head to the United States this week to take up studies at Junior College whilst they undergo intensive athletics training. Pacific Games Gold Medallists Wesley Logorava (4*100m relay) and Robson Yinambe (Decathlon) head for the city of Concordia, Kansas where they will take up studies at Cloud Community College. The news in early December that these arrangements were confirmed was a huge relief to the pair who had been waiting patiently since the Pacific Games for this kind of opportunity. The athletes are part of a small group that have been training in Lae for the past twelve months with the assistance of Athletics PNG.
Sending athletes overseas is however only one strategy currently being implemented by APNG. On the domestic front a coach development programme has begun in earnest with the launch of an athletics coaching accreditation scheme, details of which can be found on the APNG website. The educational programme is being complemented by mentoring of coaches with Wilson Malana from Kimbe and Allan Akia in Lae the first to be selected for the programme. The first APNG Coaching course will be offered during the PNG Games and a training camp for select group of junior male sprinters will commence next week at NSI.
Yinambe and Logorava follow Rellie Kaputin, Peniel Richard, Adrine Monagi, Poro Gahekave, Shirley Vunatup, Naomi Kerari, and Sharon Toako who were able to return to the USA last year under various different funding arrangements. “A training grant from PNG Olympic Committee’s Team PNG Performance budget together with some scholarship support from the college has enabled us to provide this opportunity for Wesley and Robson” said Athletics PNG President Tony Green. We want to keep our key squad members fully active in the sport in between Pacific Games competitions and to continue their education and we believe this is a very good way to achieve that. Wesley in particular has been very committed in his training and deserves this opportunity to try to emulate the achievements of Theo Piniau who broke the 200m national record last year. Robson showed at the Pacific Games that he is the sort of person who thrives on competitive and will rise to the occassion. There hasn’t been much to stimulate him in the past 18 months but we are confident that the competition programme he will have in the USA will really motivate him to aim high.