With the PNG Games in November 2021, the PNG Air National Championships will be held from June 25 to 28 in Kimbe in order to ease the burden on travelling teams.
“Experience has shown that few teams can afford to travel to events in the lead up to a PNG Games hence the National Championships will be staged during the second term holiday,” said APNG secretary, Philip Rehder.
“Athletics PNG has begun rotating the event between Port Moresby and Kimbe as these are the only two centres with an all-weather track.
“A new feature in 2021 will be additional events in Port Moresby on April 10th, 14th and 17th, and Kimbe on June 5th, 7th and 24th to provide more competition opportunities for athletes being targeted for National representation in 2022.
“Staging these events in April and June will assist athletes to prepare for the Championships, whilst PNG Air sponsored regional events in the second half of the year will provide good lead up competition into the PNG Games.
“We hope to be able to livestream many of these national events this year,” said Rehder, following the successful trial of livestreaming in 2020.
With COVID-19 still wreaking havoc on the international sporting calendar, Athletics PNG is focusing on keeping its athletes busy so that they are ready when international competitions resume next year.
With the distance squad training at Kerowagi in preparation for next year’s world cross country championships, APNG expects to be able to send athletes to the Oceania Trials Championships and the Oceania 10k Championships if indeed, these events do go ahead this year.
Meanwhile, a decision is expected soon on the fate of the Oceania Athletics Championships which were originally scheduled for May.
“It seems unlikely that this event will proceed in 2021 due to the current difficult situation with international flights and quarantine requirements,” stated Rehder.
“A number of educational programmes are also planned this year, with coaching courses in Kundiawa at the end of April and in Kimbe in June with the possibility of others being added in the second half of the year.”
Athletics PNG also plans to conduct educational seminars for athletes around the major competitions utilising its senior athletes, especially those who have undertaken the Team PNG HERO training.
Looking ahead to next year, APNG wishes to make it known to athletes that selection for the Pacific Mini Games and Commonwealth Games will not be based on one championships.
“The 2022 National Championships will be staged in the second half of the year so we will be considering performances this year, especially at the Nationals and PNG Games,” said Rehder. “However athletes must maintain their form for obvious reasons and final selection trials in March next year will be a good measure of that.”
(U18 girls 100m final file picture)