Message from President Coe

In the wake of the Covid–19 pandemic and its effect on the World Sporting Calendar World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has spoken of the need for sport to take back seat whilst people focus on their health and well-being and that of their families and communities. In an open letter to the World Athletics Community Coe said that in what for many people are intolerable circumstances, he is comforted by the creativity and resilience of people: ”The spirit of human optimism and endeavour stands the test of time, and when we get through this, and we will, we will be braver and more innovative, more collaborative and resilient, stronger and more tolerant, and we will be more global and not less”.

Athletics PNG President Tony Green, in echoing the sentiments of President Coe to the athletics community in PNG, said that the letter is another example of the outstanding leadership that Seb is providing to the Sport. “Athletics has been at the forefront of the fight against doping in recent years and has been taking the lead in recent discussions surrounding the rescheduling of the Olympic Games”. The letter has been widely circulated within the PNG Athletic Community and he urged everyone to take note of its contents. We continue to communicate the information to our athletes abroad while holding discussions with the national athletes locally about the facts on COVID-19 and the impact to our sports and on them personally. Like so many athletes around the globe who while in isolation or restricted in movements, innovate and  continue to train in their backyards and we encourage our athletes to do the same here to stay focused and not let the situation stop them from training.

Coe urges all Member Federations to recognise the situation as a huge wake up call to individuals, for business and for sport and to take advantage of the opportunity to work out new ways of delivering events and to create and plan new events. He urged the athletics community to use this time to innovate and extend the sport, to think bigger, rip up the blueprints and banish the “that’s the way we’ve always done it mentality”.

Whilst acknowledging that the priority for everyone right now is to contain the pandemic, stay healthy and stay home, President Coe has set our four priorities for the Sport of Athletics. One is to get athletes back into competition as soon as possible and once it is safe to do so. Secondly to expedite a review of the Olympic qualification system and release any changes to the process as soon as possible. Thirdly to reorganise the global calendar of events, not just for the next two years but for the long term. Lastly to continue to develop strategies to grow athletics.

As far as international activity is concerned, 2020 was going to be a quiet year for Athletics PNG, with only the Melanesian Championship on the calendar. Oceania Athletic Association have indicated that this event will now most likely be held in December. With most local events in PNG being scheduled in the second half of the year anyway it’s possible that there will be minimal disruption to the APNG Calendar of events if as hoped, the COVID-19 crisis does not continue into the latter part of the year. “This is a good opportunity for us to take the time to assess where we want to go as a Sport and plan ahead”, said Green. “There’s a lot happening in the first half of next year with the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, NSW (March), the Oceania Championship’s in Vanuatu (May) and the Pacific Mini Games in June. There will be no excuse for us not to be ready for these events”

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