PM congratulates PNG athletes

The Prime Minister and Minister for Sports, Peter O’Neill, has congratulated the first two Papua New Guinea athletes to win medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

PM O’Neill applauded every athlete who has made it to the games and said the country is behind them all the way.

"I congratulate all athletes who qualified for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast,” the Prime Minister said in a statement.

"We know a lot of sweat and sacrifice has been required to reach to the Commonwealth Games and each of you must be congratulated.

“So far we have two silver medals in weightlifting events. I congratulate Morea Baru and Dika Toua for their tremendous efforts to win silver in their weightlifting events.

“We look forward to welcoming you and all athletes home after the Games.

“There are still many days to go in this Games and I look forward to many more thrilling competitions for our athletes.

“But regardless of where our athletes finish, so long as they put in their best they can compete with pride and Papua New Guinea is right behind you cheering all the way.

“On behalf of the nation, I thank all Papua New Guinea athletes for their efforts, and I hope they wear our national colours with great pride. 

“This is a time that you will remember for the rest of your lives.”

The PM said the current Government will continue to enhance sports, from the regions to the professional training facilities.

He highlighted that elite athletes are where they are today not only because of their talent and hard work, but also because of the people who support them.

“We must also thank all of the people behind our athletes who have made it possible for our young men and women to compete,” O’Neill said.

“The coaches, trainers and administration and support staff who guide our athletes help them to give their best.

“We must also never forget the struggle and effort that is put in by the families of our athletes.

“To reach the Commonwealth Games standard requires families to be right behind our athletes, to make it possible for them to train and focus on their athletic careers.”

After the release of the PM’s statement today, Steven Kari successfully defended his Commonwealth Games title in the men’s 94 kilograms weightlifting event.

The Hanuabada man smashed the previous Commonwealth record, set by Australia’s Alexan Karapetyan in November 2001, by 6kg.

He claimed victory with a total of 370kg, acquiring PNG’s first gold medal.

Press release