However, Athletics PNG held off making any formal announcement of the team to ensure that only those athletes who were fit and ready to compete at the Games would be included in the final team.
The team includes 10 male and eight female athletes, 17 of whom who were nominated last year by the PNG Olympic Committee and endorsed by the Justification Committee.
President Tony Green said that the US based athletes selected were advised earlier this year for obvious reasons, as this had implications for their movements after the Mini Games in Saipan.
It was agreed that the team be announced after the Pacific Mini Games and APNG is now doing that after clarifying the situation with some athletes who were carrying injuries, and after consultations with the PNG Olympic Committee.
In announcing the team, Green said, “Some of the US based athletes have had a long season and we have to be realistic in our expectations of their performance. However the experience of attending a higher level competition will stand them in good stead for the important competitions next year and beyond, especially for the relays.”
The womens 4*100m relay and mens 4*400m relay will be the main focus for the sprinters, but they will each take one individual event,possibly two in some cases. The team is : Male : Leroy Kamau , Emmanuel Wanga, Shadrick tansi , Jonathan Dende, Daniel Baul Ephraim Lerkin , Peniel Richard , Lakona Gerega , De’bono Paraka and Karo Iga
In form throwers, De’Bono Paraka and Lakona Gerega will be looking to improve on the National Records that they set recently at the Oceania Championships and Pacific Mini Games respectively.
Paraka, who wasn’t originally considered for the Games because he has had a low key last couple of years, has proven his doubters wrong by getting himself into the best shape of his life and throwing consistently very well.
He is now at the Gold Coast undertaking his final preparations with Coach Brett Green. 400m Hurdlers Daniel Baul and Ephraim Lerkin will be aiming to improve the times they clocked at the Mini Games and aiming to secure a place in the final four for the relay.
Karo Iga, whose 2019 Gold medal winning performance of 6643 points is also his personal best will be aiming to accumulate close to 7000 points, which would then put him in striking distance of Albert Momberger’s 30-year-old National record of 7178 that he set during his lead up to the 1992 olympic Games in Barcelona
The womens team is Flagbearer, Rellie Kaputin (Long Jump) , Annie Topal (Triple Jump) , Toea Wisil (100m) Leonie Beu and Isila Apkup (200m) , Adrine Monagi (100m Hurdles) ; Edna Boafob (Heptathlon) and Sharon Toako (Javelin). Monagi is another in form athlete who will be aiming for a top showing at the Games.
Her hopes of making a significant improvement in her personal best time in the 100m hurdles in Saipan recently were thwarted by strong headwinds.
Head Coach and Field events coach is Brett Green assisted by Allan Akia, with Subul Babo and Akia as sprint coaches. Team Manageress will be Nola Peni.
The male sprint squad, Isila Apkup and Leonie Beu are now at NSI after a short break at home and will leave for the Games on 21 July with the main PNG contingent.
Only Leroy Kamau and Ephraim Lerkin opted to base themselves in Port Moresby for their final preparations. Ten athletes who require specialist coaching in the jumps, hurdles and throws are undertaking their final preparations on the Gold coast.
Green thanked the National Sports Institute through Director, Janet Gimots for the part they have played in supporting athlete training programmes and HP Unit for the support provided to Port Moresby and Lae based athletes.
“Sponsors PNG Air, Prima Small goods and Kumul Consolidated Holdings through the PNG Olympic Committee have also played an important part in team preparations, he added