Obviously the key event for this year is the Pacific Games in Honiara and clearly the objective for PNG Athletics is to maintain its position as the #1 track and field nation in the Pacific.
“We are aiming to build on our resounding success at the 2022 Mini Games by keeping the momentum going with our programmes and all stakeholders must recognize that we will face stronger competition in Honiara, so we need to be prepared for that”, said President Tony Green.
“Our elite athletes will need continuing support for their training programmes and we will learn from past mistakes and have a more targeted approach with athletes preparing for specific events.”
Strong competition is expected for places in the men’s track team with a growing number of athletes challenging the established members of the team.
Green thanked the NSI Director, Janet Gimots for the continued support of the Institute and said that APNG will continue to work closely with the Institute to deliver an outstanding result at the Games.
Athletics delivered its plans for Games preparations to the PNG Olympic Committee in October last year together with a budget, as well as tiering scorecards for its squad members.
“Basically we have four major components to the plan said Green with ongoing training camps in PNG ; specialist training for elite athletes at the Gold Coast in the technical events of hurdles, jumps and throws; support to the US based athletes; and an appropriate competition programme, both domestic and international.
Other events on the International calendar next year are the Oceania Cup in Saipan in June and the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago in August.
PNG will form part of a Melanesian Team which will take on Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Polynesia and other teams in what is expected to be a high quality eight team Oceania Cup competition. Following its strong performance in 2022 PNG is expected to have a good number of its athletes selected for the Melanesian Team.
Athletics PNG will stage its usual regional and National championships in 2023 sponsored by PNG Air and the dates of these events have been drawn up with consideration that the PNG Games will be held during the second term holiday.
“With a large number of young athletes from around PNG likely to be in the National Capital ahead of the PNG Games Athletics competition (which is always in the second week of the Games) this is a good opportunity to stage an age division championships” said Green so that’s what we are proposing.
Then the National championships in August will be purely an Open event, following which the final team for the Pacific Games will be announced.
Green said that the selection policy is being reviewed and will be communicated to athletes soon.
“We would of course love to have all the overseas athletes in attendance at the Championships,” said Green but he acknowledged that this may not be possible in some case so the selection policy has to cater for this.
“The Championships will be very important in selecting the final team, but it has been a long standing policy that we expect to see consistent performances from athletes over a period of time and no one should be expected to be selected on the basis of a one off performance that is not backed up with a known training/performance history.”