PNG wants to be a hub of sports development in the Pacific: Minister Tkatchenko
Papua New Guinea Sports and 2015 Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko says his country wants to be a hub for sports development in the Pacific region with the new sports facilities now available for the Pacific Games.
While addressing the Fourth meeting of Pacific Sports Ministers at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby, Tkatchenko said the Papua New Government pumped in millions of dollars investment to sports infrastructure to ensure the Pacific Games is a success.
“We invested Kina 1.4 billion into the Games to ensure that the Pacific Games is not only a success but a stepping stone for sport in the years to come for PNG, hopefully producing world champions, commonwealth champions over the next 10 – 30 years with the facilities that we have now got.
“We want PNG to be the new hub when it comes to sports development in the Pacific. We want PNG to be one of those forces to be reckoned with when it comes to our athletes in the future, and it’s very important for us that we take it at every level of sporting development,” Tkatchenko told Ministers.
He has also invited Pacific countries to utilise the sporting facilities in PNG for the development of their respective athletes.
“We also open our doors to our Pacific neighbours and invite them to come and utilise our facilities that we have built for elite athletes or even for your countries individual endeavours when it comes to sports.
“We here to share, we here to work together in the Pacific to bring sports to a completely new level that has never gone to before. We don’t want to waste all these fantastic new infrastructure development of the Pacific Games, we want to utilise it for the benefit of the Pacific and PNG, our sporting codes and our athletes.
“This is not a short term project we’ve got into, this is a long term project that we are looking forward to,” said Tkatchenko.
Tkatchenko said the Pacific Games has given PNG an opportunity to host major sporting events and the region’s preparation towards the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
“We all need to work together and capitalise on the MOU that the city of Gold Coast and Port Moresby have signed to develop sports here in our region and that’s very important. The commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast is another stepping stone for the Pacific and it’s nice and close to all of us, it will allow our athletes to really excel in 2018.
“So there’s many different opportunities we can have that the Pacific Games has given PNG on hosting many different events. What stopping PNG now hosting the Commonwealth Games in the future with the facilities we now have, there is nothing. But it’s for all of us as Pacific Islands countries to work together and to show the rest of the world that we are a voice to reckon with when it comes to sports.
“We can’t just allow all these investments that we put in place go to waste, we must utilise it, manage it correctly and take it to the next level for everybody’s benefit,” he said.
Tkatchenko said being a sports Minister in PNG has been not only a challenge but very rewarding.
“Very rewarding to see our sports infrastructure has come up to world standard class, to see our athletes now got some best facilities in the world, in the Pacific to see so many of our people just come on board to support what we are aiming to achieve.
“I want to thank you too all for coming, I want to thank you all for coming with big number of athletes to this Pacific Games. I know you all wanna beat us and that’s fine but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that everybody is a winner, every athlete , every country is a winner , we are taking sports to a whole new level.
“We want to continue that and work with one another and have some best athletes in the Commonwealth and Olympics in the future. PNG we’ve got two Gold medals in weight lifting last year, what stopping us from getting 10 gold medals in the years to come from, all over the Pacific or even more, nothing stopping us, and its for all of us to work together to show the rest of the world who the Pacific really are when it comes to sport,” said Tkatchenko.…. PACNEWS