Calendar of events Updated
Athletics PNG has updated its calendar of events for 2018 to take account of a change in the date for the National Championships. The 2018 Calendar has more focus on domestic programmes and much less overseas travel than in recent years. Apart from the recent Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast we have the Melanesian Championship in May which will be attended by a small group of up and coming athletes. PNG is also likely to be represented by only athlete at the World Junior Championships in July and the Olympic Youth Games Athletics in October.
Attention is now being turned towards planning for the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa and the PNG Olympic Committee Workshop in March was timely said APNG President Tony Green. “The Melanesian Championships will be held in Vanuatu from 9 to 11 May and we will only send a small team said Green due to funding restraints. Last year we had some funding assistance to prepare our team for the Mini Games and were able to send a large team to the Oceania Championships in Fiji. This year we have nothing like that so we are focussing on providing international experience to promising new athletes whom we are targeting for next years Games. Looking towards Samoa we have to identify the weaknesses in our squad and target athletes who can strengthen our team in those areas. The Melanesian Championships also serves as the qualifying competition for the Youth Olympic Games this year.
The National Championships will be held in Port Moresby from August 24 to 26 and in setting the date athletics officials were mindful of the build-up to APEC. “We thought it best to bring forward the event from the third term school holiday for two reasons,” said Green. One is the potential disruption with Port Moresby getting ready for the APEC Summit and secondly many athletes will be preparing for National Exams early in October so September is not a good time for them to be travelling to Port Moresby. Regional Championships have again been scheduled for the Highlands (June 23 to 25 in Goroka); Southern Region ( Sept 17 to 18 in Port Moresby) and the New Guinea Islands (Sept 21 to 23). The venue for the NGI event is yet to be confirmed but is likely to be Kimbe.
Athletes who wish to be considered for the Pacific Games next year will be expected to compete in domestic competitions in their respective centres. We want to see consistent performances over a period of time, said Green and we are moving away from the practice of selecting athletes on the strength of one very good performance at a National Championships.