PORT MORESBY, 20 AUGUST 2013 (THE NATIONAL) --- An additional nine track and field athletes will head to the United States of America in the next few days as part of Athletics PNG plans to prepare for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
The four men and five women will join Sapolai Yao and Paul Pokana at the Northern Iowa Area Community College where they will attend full-time school and train.
The athletes are: Rellie Kaputin (jumps); Kalama Towarap (middle distance); Sharon Toako (javelin); Adrine Monagi and Priscillar John (sprints and jumps); Freddy Hongowori and Veherney Babob (middle distance) Mong Tavol (jumps) and Joe Matmat (sprints).
Athletics PNG president Tony Green, thanked Dan O’Connell of the Oceania Foundation for introducing the junior college programme in the country through its scholarship scheme.
He thanked the PNG Olympic Committee through secretary-general Auvita Rapilla for supporting the initiative through the Go for Gold Programme, which is funded by the Government.
Selection of athletes for the programme was based on eligibility to attend college, which means the completion of Grade 12 is a must.
The second criteria was the athlete’s eligibility to compete for the college, which means they must be under 22 years of age at the start of the school year. “There is support from the school for athletes who meet these criteria,” said Green.
“Other athletes aged over 22 can still attend college and train with the team but it’s a matter of striking a balance, as clearly the schools coaching resources must be primarily focussed on the team.”
Green said the PNGAU had tried to cover all disciplines and had been trying for a year to identify athletes for this programme, especially in field events.
“Yes, a couple of these athletes are quite new to the sport, so it is a bit of a gamble but time is against us and we need to act now to prepare athletes for the 2015 Games.
“PNGAU needs programmes like this to keep athletes in the sport and raise performance standards.
“This is the pathway we envisage for those younger athletes on domestic scholarship within PNG.
“Cecilia Kumalalamene, Sharon Kwarula and John Rivan all came through this pathway as did Betty Burua , Sapolai Yao and a number of other athletes in the current national squad.”
The athletes are in Port Moresby attending to visa requirements and will leave for Iowa as soon as that is finalised. Those who are members of the team to Wallis and Futuna will return for the Mini Games after finalising their choice of courses and completing school registration requirements....PACNEWS
PNG - PACIFIC MINI GAMES: THE NATIONAL PACNEWS: Tue 20 Aug 2013
[Can the FSM Sport system strike something similar with if not the same as as this arrangement PNGAU has with the U.S. college or uni? What conditions must be in place for FSM athletes to benefit in the same way as their PNG peers?]