Athletics PNG Unveils its plans

Athletics PNG has unveiled its plans for the final six months towards the Pacific Games in Port Moresby. Mowen Boino and Nelson Stone travelled to Brisbane last  week to prepare for upcoming competitions including the Qld State and National Championships which will both be in March. They will be joined at these meets by Toea Wisil, Betty Burua and Donna Koniel who are undertaking their preparations on the Gold Coast. Burua returned to Brisbane on Friday after spending several weeks training at the NSI  in Goroka whilst her visa application was being processed.

The PNG based team members have been divided into their event groups with the coaches drawing up schedules for the athletes in conjunction with Athletics PNG. A middle/long distance group of  16 athletes head to Adelaide at the end of January for a series of competitions culminating in the South Australian Championships at the  end of February.  Some athletes will head out at the end of this week to take in the Queensland 3000m championships in Brisbane on 24 January and the whole group will stop over in Brisbane on their return from Adelaide to compete in the Queensland Championships (March  5 to 8). This squad will then be based at NSI In Goroka until mid april when they head to Lae for the National Championships and Pacific Games Selection Trials.

Key members of the jumps and multi event squad will also head to Queensland very soon for training with Head Coach Phillip Newton. For some athletes such as Karo Iga (High Jump) and Robson Yinambe (Decathlon) it will be their third or fourth training stint with Newton since the programme began in May last year. They will be joined this year by top high jump prospects Penniel Richard. Delilah Kami and Nellie Leslie as well as several other athletes considered to be strong medal prospects . This group too will compete at the Queensland Championships and number of other local meets around Brisbane before returning to PNG for the National Championships (April 17 to 19).

With most of the top sprinters and hurdlers already overseas there are only a small number of promising up and coming athletes in PNG such as Nazmie Lee Marai , Charles Livuan , Wesley Logorava and Penniel Joshua being considered for support in their preparations said Athletics PNG President Tony Green.  “Wesley and Penniel will undertake blocks of training with Sharon Hannan at the Gold Coast, whereas in the case of Marai and Livuan we need to work around their study commitments “ Green added.

There will be no let up for the squad after the National Championships with a large contingent set to travel to Cairns from Lae and compete at the Oceania Championships from May 8 to 10. “A great deal has been secured for the squad at Bohemia Resort in Cairns” said APNG Secretary Philip Rehder which will enable us to base the squad in Cairns for just over two weeks leading into the Championships. We think this is a better option than having everyone disperse after the Nationals and then have the hassle of getting everyone back together again so soon afterwards”. Following the Oceania Championships the distance group will return to NSI for their final block of six weeks training up to the Games whereas the jumps and multi eventers selected for the Games will head back to Coach Newton. By this time those athletes currently in the United States will begin to arrive in Australia having finished their college and track programmes.

During May and June high level competition will be sought for the five elite athletes which may mean going to Asia. However at this stage there are no details available on specific competitions.

“A programme of this nature would not be possible without the huge support for the squad through the Go for Gold Programme” said Rehder and huge thanks are due to the Government and its programme delivery agent PNG Olympic Committee for this” . Rehder also acknowledged the support of the Sports Foundation through NSI  for the middle and long distance squad and that of SP Brewery through its Gold Athletes Programme which is funding the training programmes of Mowen Boino and Betty Burua.




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