Former champion swimmer, Ryan Pini is the new Chairperson of the Papua New Guinea Athletes Commission (PNGAC) after being elected by fellow PNGAC members yesterday.
Supporting him will be Lua Rikis as the Deputy Chairperson. Pini was the Deputy Chairperson in the last term of the PNGAC which ended in July this year. He takes over from Karo Lelai who has served two terms.
Former PNG Pepes Captain, Rikis is also serving her second term as a member of the PNGAC with this being her first time on it in the leadership seat. Election for the Chair and Deputy Chair of the PNGAC was held as part of the induction facilitated by the PNG Olympic Committee for the 11 new members who were recently voted in.Secretary General of the PNG Olympic Committee, Auvita Rapilla welcomed the new AC members and encouraged them to be good role models for their fellow athletes.
“This is your opportunity to grow your leadership qualities and become a good example for other athletes to follow.
“As members of the Athletes Commission, You have an important obligation, you are not only representing your sport but all the athletes,” she said.
Pini acknowledged outgoing Chairperson, Karo Lelai saying that the Commission had started a lot of important work under her leadership which he is looking forward to continue.
Rikis congratulated Pini and also paid tribute to the outgoing Chairperson and AC members and challenged herself to take the lead in this new term. Lelai thanked Pini and Rikis for taking on the leadership role saying that it is a great challenge but a rewarding one to be able to speak for athletes and representing them on different matters.
The Athletes Commission advocates athlete welfare; represents the views of athletes on PNGOC Board and Committees; provides advice and channel concerns of athletes through to the appropriate bodies.
The Athletes Commission for 2019 to 2023 term include; Ryan Pini, Lua Rikis, Vagi Henry, Milton Kisapai, Toua Udia, Raphaela Baki, Judith Meauri, Lorraine Harry who were all elected during the Pacific Games period this year.
Two additional members, Nigel Bana and Lois Garena were appointed by the PNG Olympic Committee Board. Karo Lelai by virtue of her role as Oceania national Olympic Committee (ONOC) and Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) AC Chairperson, also sits on the PNGAC as an Ex-officio member.
The PNG Athletes Commission is one of the most vibrant in the Olympic Movement and this is reflected in the number of Commissions and Committees that Lelai and Pini are part of.