PORT MORESBY, (POST COURIER) – ATHLETICS PNG has named a final and full strength team of 15 male and 14 female athletes to travel to Suva, Fiji next month for the Melanesian Championships.
Following the recent national championships in Lae, five PNG-based athletes have been added to the preliminary team that was announced on May 17.
These are Emmanuel Wanga, Abel Siune, Martin Orovo, Nancy Malamut and Lyenne Nilmo. New Zealand-based 15-year-old Letisha Pukaikia has also been included to run the U18 sprints following her strong performances in this division at the Nationals. Support from the PNG Olympic Committee has also facilitated the inclusion of several USA based athletes including Rellie Kaputin, Theo Piniau, Adrine Monagi, Peniel Richard and Poro Gahekave.
In announcing the team, secretary Philip Rehder said that as indicated in the first announcement, only the very best of the up and coming junior athletes have been included due to funding constraints.
“We have been really struggling with lack of funding for development since the Pacific Games and our priority this year has been about maintaining the motivation and interest of those athletes who did well for us at the Games, as they are an important part of our future plans”.
Funding for the team has come from a number of different sources including the IAAF, Oceania Athletics and the PNG Olympic Committee.
Athletics PNG is also seeking the support of a number of individual corporate sponsors and appropriate announcements will be made in due course.
Rehder also reminded media representatives to check with Athletics PNG to verify any stories on Athletics to avoid confusing athletes, coaches and observers.
“APNG are the authority on the matter of team selections and this is not a multi-sport Games where our athletes participate under the umbrella of Team PNG” he added.
The full team is: Men Nazmie-Lee Marai, Wesley Logorava, Charles Livuan, Ephraim Lerkin, Peniel Joshua, Piniau, Wanga, Orovo, Siune, Richard, Steven Ray, Robson Yinambe, George Yamak, Debono Paraka and Mowen Boino. Female: Toea Wisil, Afure Adah, Shirley Vunatup, Donna Koniel, Malamut, Peni, Pukaikia, Nilmo, Gahekave, Monagi, Kaputin, Mary Kua, Jacklyn Travertz and Annie Topal.
Team manageress will be Monica Henao with Nola Peni assisting. USA-based coach Dior Lowry, who has worked with several PNG athletes in the last two years, will be in Fiji before the championships attending a high level coaching course and will stay on to be the head coach of the PNG team.
Vanuatu-based Mowen Boino will make the short hop from Port Vila to Suva and to assist Lowry and will run his favourite 400m hurdles event.