In selection our team for the Oceania Championships (Suva June 28 – July 1) our priorities are
Category A. Firstly those athletes who have the potential to qualify for the World Championships by winning the Oceania Title. Qualified athletes are fully funded by the IAAF to attend the World Champs.Broadly speaking, these would be our elite athletes.
Category B. Next are those athletes targeting the Mini Games who do not have access to regular competition opportunities ie the PNG based athletes. The strategy here is obviously to assist athletes with their preparations for the Pacific Mini Games
Category C. Members of the Development squad. That is the best of the upcoming athletes especially those who have demonstrated the ability to win medals in the U20 or U18 division. Obviously, we cannot cater for everyone because of funding constraints and it is necessary to impose a levy fee of K2,500 on category B and C athletes.
The first deferral of the PNG Games to March 2017 caused us to postpone our National Championships to the second half of 2017. Consequently we have not had a National Championships or PNG Games that we could use as the principal selection tool for the Oceania Championships, so our strategy has been to encourage existing squad members and the promising newcomers who emerged last year to maintain a strong training commitment; and to try and ensure they have been given the chance to prove themselves. Port Moresby has had a few competitions and there have been a few trial competitions elsewhere. We have to select on the basis of the information available to APNG, and given the need to accommodate existing team members and the outstanding newcomers from last year we have not been able to consider new athletes this year. We purposely avoided publicly referring to Oceania Trials for fear of raising expectations. There are a small number of national squad athletes who have yet to show their readiness and all athletes must have a current season performance to be selected.
World Championships. Oceania Area Championships winners are deemed automatic qualifiers for the World Championship, subject to the endorsement of the National Federation. However, in field events qualification it is not automatic – the athlete has to be endorsed by the IAAF. It is unlikely that the IAAF would endorse an athlete who is a long way from the qualifying standard.
Athletics PNG is hopeful of qualifying a number of athletes for the World Championships which will be held in London in august. The IAAF will meet the airfares and accomm/meals for all athletes who are qualified and endorsed. This is a fantastic opportunity for us to give our athletes what may be a once in a lifetime experience of attending the World Championships. London 2012 was an awesome experience and there is every reason to believe UK Athletics and the City of London will put on another great event.
There's also an Under 20 division this year at the Oceania Championships which is a good opportunity to provide overseas experience to the next generation of athletes.