Disheartened Lae youths

A disheartened group of Lae district youths returned home yesterday after finding out that their district office did not set money aside for their trip to Madang for the 2023 Momase Regional Youth Games.

The teenagers and young men and women, representing three sporting codes in Lae, were supposed to travel to Madang today for the games.

The team management of volleyball, basketball and touch footy in Lae district of Morobe Province received a letter from the Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation’s Momase Regional Office, dated August 18th, confirming their participation at the games.

The 2023 Momase Regional Youth Games will be hosted in Madang on the 25th-30th of September, involving all 26 districts in the region.

The Lae delegation has 30 members from each code, which is a total of 90 players and team officials.

President of the Lae Impact Club Sports Association, David Haro Kawa, said in anticipation of the games, they have been training for two months now. And during that time, they have been following up with the Division of Sports in the Morobe Provincial Administration and the Lae district community development officer, and were given the impression that everything was in order.

It was not until Friday, the 22nd of September, when they needed to confirm logistics for their trip up the highway today (Saturday) that they were given the run around.

“We got the message this afternoon. They said it’s late submission for the district to fund the team to travel,” Kawa said yesterday.

“We got information from the provincial sports office in MPG and the Lae district that Lae district is going to fund our team to take part in the games. We got that information two months ago and we held tournaments, scouted players for selection, we selected them and they went into training.

“They are all so frustrated because of the time and effort they gave in for training. It’s been two months for us in training and some of them, it took them miles to travel from their venues to the training area, which is the stadium,” said Kawa.

“And some of them used their own money so we are so frustrated that we won’t be taking part in the competition.”

Lae district community development officer, Collin Otto, addressed the group after 4pm on Friday and said he had submitted a budget for the trip four months ago to the district administrator’s office but was advised that it was a ‘late submission’.

His counterpart from the Morobe sports and recreational office, Ludwig Peka, distanced his office from the issue, saying it was the responsibility of the National Youth Development Authority’s district office.

The office of the Lae MP, on the other hand, was not aware of the program or the commitment made by the district office. It is too late now to source funding for a large delegation to travel.

The youths, however, are appealing to their leaders to assist, saying they have spent their time and money to represent Lae in the regional games, which will start on Monday and end on Saturday.

Loop author