Prime Minister James Marape announced that the government will be supporting the team with K8.5 million to send the team to the Solomon Islands this month. Marape made the announcement during Team PNG’s farewell event at the Sir John Guise Indoor Complex on Friday 10th November.
When this support comes through, it will see a full team of 514 athletes and officials line up against the rest of the Pacific in 20 of the 24 sports that are on offer.
The Prime Minister’s commitment comes three days before the first group of athletes board the plane to Honiara. It also gives hope to a number of sports who were facing the possibility of being left behind after deadline for the payment of levi fees lapsed.
Marape apologized to the team for coming so late with this announcement and said that while he sits at the top of the command chain, there are others in between who are responsible for different areas.
“I want to apologize if some of you felt that we do not care. I do sit at the top of the food chain and the instructions go out but those who work in between, if they did not act on it, I do apologize.
“And we will be on standby, every step of the way, as you go, and to come back, receive you back in the country,” said the Prime Minister.
He encouraged the athletes, officials and team management to be good ambassadors of the country and carry the flag proudly.
“You are carrying the country’s flag,” he said.
President of the PNG Olympic Committee, Sir John Dawanincura encouraged athletes to do their best and to focus on the process and not the outcome.
Team PNG Chef De Mission, Faye-Zina Lalo said Team PNG is aiming to win as much gold medals as it can. She thanked Prime Minister Marape and his government for their commitment to Team PNG’s success at the Games.
She said while PNG is the biggest nation in the Pacific, it has its own challenges and she thanked the Prime Minister for his commitment.
The first Team PNG contingent leaves for Honiara on Monday 13th November. The Games will begin with the opening ceremony on 19th November and close on December 2nd.