Emotional day for PNG

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA: They sang the Papua New Guinea national anthem as tears rolled down their cheeks.

It was an emotional day for PNG yesterday when Steven Kari not only successfully defended his Commonwealth Games title in the men’s 94 kilograms weightlifting event, but he also smashed the 17-year-old clean and jerk Commonwealth record.

“It’s a great moment for Steven and also for Team PNG,” said Team PNG Chef de Mission, Tamzin Wardley.

“We watched the sheer joy from Steven and the friends and family who were there.

“One of the Games volunteers, watching the singing and dancing, came over and expressed amazement as seeing ‘so much happiness’, it rather beautifully summed up the win and celebration.”

It was a special moment for Kari who was overwhelmed with emotion as he lifted a total of 370kg with family and team mates cheering him from the stands at the XXI Commonwealth Games.

He edged out Boady Santavy of Canada by one kilogram and pushing India’s Vikas Thakur to the bronze with his 351kg total.

This is Kari’s consecutive gold medal win at the Commonwealth Games after taking out the title in Glasgow in 2014.

Kari’s win brings Papua New Guinea’s medal count to three, with two silver medals also won from weightlifting earlier in the week by Dika Toua and Morea Baru.

It was a thrilling end of the day which began with shooting which featured Tania Mairi in the women’s air pistol competition.

She did not qualify for the final round but said the competition was great and that it was a lot tougher and more nerve wracking than anything she had previously experienced.

More good news came from the swimming pool which saw Leonard Kalate setting his second personal best in the 50m breaststroke.

The PNG athletics team began their competition yesterday as well with the 100m heats with Nazmie-Lee Marai and Wesley Logorava in the men’s race and Afure Adah in the women’s.

John Ume closed the day with hard punching against Australia’s Luke Wilson in the men’s 64kg.

The fiery Papua New Guinean shook his Australian opponent in a hard fought match winning the support of people in the crowd as well.

Ume was unlucky to have the decision go against him but left satisfied with his performance and a wave thanking fellow Team PNG members who turned up to cheer him on.

Press release