2017 Calendar Released
Athletics PNG has released the final version of its 2017 Calendar of events with the initial draft having to be revised following the deferral of the 2016 PNG Games. Focus is now on the PNG Games in March and the main domestic programme then being in the second half of the year. “Experience has shown that our National Championships needs to be at least six months apart from the PNG Games said Secretary Philip Rehder, as the travel cost would otherwise be a problem for most teams. This means we can schedule the National Championships during the third term holiday and finalise our team for the Pacific Mini Games immediately after the Nationals”. Regional Championships are scheduled for August and September in the lead up to the Nationals. Port Moresby is slated as the host next year but with the Rugby League World Cup being staged at around the same time this will depend on the availability of the Sir John Guise Stadium.
Strict new guidelines concerning participation in Regional and National Championships will be introduced in 2017 in an effort to overcome the serious problems encountered at a number of recent events including the 2016 National Championships where officials were overwhelmed with late entries, resulting in serious delays with the programme. Several finals were run in fading light at the Championships which had an impact on the recording of results. The recent Annual General Meeting considered this matter and resolved to seriously address the problem in 2017.
The 2017 Oceania Championships will be held in Fiji and will include an Under 20 division instead of under 18 as in recent editions. “This will be a good opportunity to expose some of the young talent in the mens sprints that emerged in 2016 said Rehder and we will be looking for strong performances at the PNG Games from these athletes”. Leroy Kamau from ENB, Jobie Kinzu from Madang and Michael Peni (ENB) were the standout performers in the U18 division. Athletics PNG also took note of the performances of Cedric Tansi (Central), Andrew Posai (WNB), David Guka (Pom), and Damien Kotou (Manus). Some very good competition is expected amongst these athletes at the PNG Games.
For PNG’s elite athletes, the Oceania Championships is a qualifying event for the World Championships in London. Athletes who win their event are deemed to have qualified for the World Championships, subject to restrictions in some field events and in all cases selection has to be endorsed by their National Governing Body.
Athletics PNG will also send a team to the IAAF World Relay Championships in the Bahamas in April to take part in 4*200m relays and the mixed 4*400m relay.” It is also possible that our team could attend the Penn Relays next year said Rehder as this event immediately follows the IAAF World Relays. This would be an awesome experience for PNG athletes” he added. The Penn relays is the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States and has been held annually since 1895 at the University of Pennsylvania. It regularly attracts over 15,000 participants from high schools, college and track clubs as well as international teams.
PNG will send its quota of one male and one female athlete to the Commonwealth Youth Games which will also be held in the Bahamas. For the sport of athletics, participants must still be under 18 on 31 december 2017. Athletes targeted for this event will be notified early in the new year.
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