Athletes who have raised the country’s profile in winning medals during the recent Pacific Games in Port Moresby have been congratulated by the Parliamentary Opposition Group.
In a statement on Monday, Opposition members acknowledged the commitment and perseverance showed by the athletes whilst they also encouraged other athletes that have missed out on medals to aim higher and to never give up.
“You have done our nation proud and created history by winning more medals than ever before in any international or regional competition,” the statement said.
As such, the Opposition Group said, it is time the Government recognize the athletes for their hard-work and commitment in representing and raising the country’s flag in the region.
The Group said, that a lot of the athletes are unemployed and have committed their time for training away from their families and it is only right that the Government recognize them.
The Leader of Opposition Jeremiah Manele said despite many wonderful achievements by sports men and women of the country, successive Governments always turn a blind eye on them.
“We should be proud of our winning athletes as our sports heroes and they deserved to be honored and recognized at the highest level,” the statement said.
The statement highlighted whilst the Opposition welcomes the news by the Government to build world class sporting facilities for athletes; the challenge is for the Government to live by its word.
“It is good news but we hope it is not just another political rhetoric,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Manele has reiterated his call made during his Sine Dire speech in April 2015, in Parliament for the need to invest in sports infrastructures and development programs; to be evenly shared throughout the provinces.
“I encourage the relevant ministry and institutions to be developmental in their approach and with the support of the government – our youths can become assets, contributing to the development of our country,” he said.
Mr Manele reiterated that sports can be a platform for addressing the anti-social behaviors by our youths in the country as it can also create employment opportunities as well as a revenue earner for the country.
The country created history by collecting 28 medals in this year’s Pacific Games. Of this total 7 are gold medals collected from weightlifting and athletics.