Athletics PNG has named a 48 strong team for the Pacific Games in Apia including eight athletes who will be defending their Gold medals from Port Moresby 2015.
"The names of the 17 female 28 male and 3 Para athletes have been released following deliberations by the Justification Committee of the PNG Olympic Committee on both the nominations by Athletics PNG and after considering appeals."
The Defending Gold medalists from 2015 are Toea Wisil,Rellie Kaputin, Donna Koniel, Adrine Monagi, Mowen Boino, Kaminiel Matlaun,Peniel Richard and Sapolai Yao. There is just one matter pending clarification from the Justification Committee, concerning an additional athlete for the womens 4*100m relay squad.
In releasing the names, Team Manageress Nola Peni thanked the National Sports Institute as well as Sponsors Prima Small goods and Trukai for their support with the ongoing training programme as well as the PNG Olympic Committee for meeting much of the travel costs including those for selection trials in Kimbe and the team to Bangkok.
Australia and New Zealand are participating in Athletics for the first time and have been invited to nominate athletes in certain events only. Those are the events which traditionally have seen few competitors such as some of the womens field events and longer distance races.
“What we do know is that New Zealand have selected only five athletes and latest indications are that Australia may have less than ten athletes”
Many of the sprint squad together with men’s middle distance runners were in Bangkok last weekend for the Thailand Open championships. Field event athletes will leave Port Moresby shortly to spend a few weeks with Coaches Phillip Newton and Brett Green on the Gold Coast in the lead up to the Games as the technical coaching is very important for them at this time. Athletics PNG plans to have the full team attend the Oceania Championships in Townsville at the end of June before they head to Samoa” said Green.
However it is not known at this stage whether there will be any further funds available to sports for preparations.