PNG’s first-ever representation at wushu champs

Papua New Guinea’s sole representative to the 15th World Wushu Championships (15WWC), Andrew Molen, is set to make history as the first athlete to compete at this event when he leaves for China this Sunday.

This will be the first time for PNG to be represented at any international Wushu competition and Molen has been given that honour.

He will be competing in the men’s 85kg category Sanda (free fighting) competition and has been in intensive training in Port Moresby since July this year.

“This is a special privilege and honour to be the first to compete at this level and I will be giving my very best when I step onto that stage,” Molen said.

He said his preparation has not been easy with him juggling between a full time job and his training.

“It has been a hard three months because I’ve had to manage my time between work and training but I’m glad it was done and I will be heading into competition soon,” Molen said.

PNG was invited to participate at the 15WWC by the International Wushu Federation (IWUF). Being the most experienced and active athlete in the newly established sport in the country, the Kung Fu Wushu Association of PNG (KFWA PNG) nominated Molen.

His nomination is backed by the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation through their President, Walt Missingham, who has been heavily involved in spreading the sport in the region.

“As part of the growth and development of Wushu in PNG and the region, we are delighted to be invited to be part of this year’s event.

“Andrew (Molen) has been an active member of our sport and we have confidence in him to proudly carry our flag in Shanghai,” said Geoff Hui, President of KFWA PNG.

The 15WWC will be held from October 18th to 24th in Shanghai, China, and will feature two competition categories; Taolu (forms) and Sanda (free fighting).

Prior to that, Molen will be attending a coaching camp at the Shanghai University of Sport (SUS) from October 6th to 18th under a scholarship from the Chinese Wushu Association.

Hui said this is part of the development for Wushu in PNG and the Pacific by training coaches and athletes as the sport aims to grow in the region.

While this will be Molen’s first international wushu event, it is not his first time to represent his country. He has represented PNG in various codes including kickboxing and karate and also participated at the national level in taekwondo, kickboxing, karate, boxing and rugby.

He has been studying martial arts since he was a teenager and attributed his strong focus, fluid movements and calm and adaptive traits to this background.

“I’ve learned a lot of different things from some great people in the martial arts and sports, this has shaped the way I discipline myself when preparing for big events like this and I am grateful to all those people and the opportunities I had,” Molen said.

However, it was not an easy ride for this warrior who has fought many battles in and out of the ring.

“I’ve been through some tough times in life and whenever I try to leave because of that, someone or something would pull me back, and now here I am getting ready for the world champs.

“I’m glad I held on and kept pushing, whatever the result maybe, I will be happy to share my experience with others,” he said.

With retirement not far off in the horizon for this veteran, Molen said this is the highest level of competition that he has competed in.

“I am looking forward to the championships, and also returning and guiding others to achieve similar milestones in their career,” he stated.

(Andrew Molen in training)

Press release