Team PNG was officially welcomed to the Rio2016 Olympic Games Village at 8pm local time. The Village welcome is a tradition at the Olympics and provides the opportunity for the Mayor of the Games Village to officially welcome each country to the village and for the flag of the country to be raised at the village.
Mayor of the Rio2016 Village, Brazilian basketball star and Olympic medallist, Janeth Arcain, greeted Team PNG along with the teams from Iceland, Luxembourg, Oman, Sierra Leone and South Sudan in what was the last of the Village welcome ceremonies.
Team PNG was pleased to have join them for the Welcome ceremony, Vice-Minister for Sports, Labi Amaiu, who had earlier spent the day at the Commonwealth Sports Ministers meeting ahead of the Games.
After the raising of the PNG flag and the playing of the National Anthem, Chef de Mission, Emma Waiwai presented a gift on behalf of the team to the Mayor. The gift, a decorative carving of the Team PNG logo was custom made in PNG for the occasion. When handing over the gift to the Mayor, Waiwai shared the Team’s pleasure to be in Rio for the Games and the amazing hospitality shown to them in the village. The two also shared a light moment about their love of Basketball and former playing days.
Waiwai then wrote a message on behalf of the Team on the Olympic Wall of Truce. The message joining the messages of the other 206 National Olympic Committees participating at the Games.
The ceremony centred around a fervent performance from local dancers showcasing the traditions of Brasilian music and dance over its existence, culminating in a contemporary samba street party. Team PNG athlete Toea Wisil was first to join in the celebrations with the performance.
Toea had arrived in Rio late the previous night along with coach Alison Fairweather. Also at the ceremony were Ryan Pini, Raymond Ovinou and the Taekwondo athletes, Samantha Kassman and Maxemillion Kassman. Samantha and Maxemillion had earlier that morning joined the team after arriving in the village for the first time.
Also earlier in the day, Boxer Thadius Katua learned that he will be facing a Russian opponent in the under 60kg division in his bought on Saturday at 10am Rio time.
Team PNG will now prepare for the Rio2016 Opening Ceremony where Flagbearer Ryan Pini will lead the team as it reveals its walkout uniforms.