Three received special awards at the 27th Graduation Ceremony last Friday in Port Moresby.
Three of the six athletes who graduated from various fields finished in the top three with karate athlete, Buruka Chapau, awarded the dux after finishing first in his Certificate 3 in Information Technology course. His classmate and PNG football athlete, Roland Bala, came in third place.
Volleyball athlete, Annrika Garena, got second place in the Certificate 3 in Business course. She was also selected to speak on behalf of all the graduands.
The other athletes who also graduated were Miriam Stanley, Symoena Gesa and Julius Piku.
Garena’s message to her fellow graduands was that it would hopefully inspire them and keep them moving forward no matter the hardships they may face in the future.
“As a young mother and an ambassador for sports who is balancing education (school), my family, sports, it is never an easy road to take but managing it and facing the challenges have made me grow as a person,” she said.
The athletes studied under the Athlete Excellence scholarship program offered by IBS University through their College of TVET at Six-Mile, Port Moresby.
“I faced a lot of challenges to get here and to finally get this award I’m very happy and proud for this achievement. My future ambition is to be a cyber security officer and help protect our cyber space in PNG and hopefully abroad as well,” said Chapau.
He thanked the PNG Olympic Committee and IBS University for the scholarship, saying it is a very good initiative to help athletes look forward to a future after their sporting careers.
Bala said the scholarship has really helped him in his personal development and has given him the opportunity to think about his life after sports as well.
“I was out of the classroom for almost 10 years, thinking that soccer was everything to me. But getting injured, injuries will always happen, and you know you have to do something after sport.
“For me this (scholarship) was an eye opener and a big blessing for me. Thanks to IBS in partnership with PNGOC, they have given me this scholarship to pursue an opportunity to get educated and further my studies,” he said.
“As an athlete, we all know what hard work, commitment and dedication is, we know how to succeed in sports, but in life we need to have a balance and that’s where education comes into play. To all the young athletes out there, think about this opportunity and get educated.”
PNG Olympic Committee Board Member and Chairperson of the PNG Athletes Commission, Ryan Pini, who attended the graduation, encouraged the athletes to continue to pursue their education and to utilise their new qualifications to seek opportunities around them.
Pini acknowledged the support of IBS University through the development of these graduands not just as individuals but as the future of the country.
“In sport we work hard in training and do our very best in competition to get the best results for ourselves and our country. We aim to do the same in life and a high quality education such as the one offered at IBS gives us the tools to do well in life as well,” Pini said.
IBS University has been offering the scholarship since 2016, in partnership with the PNG Olympic Committee for athletes that have represented the country. The scholarships are fully funded by IBS.
This year nine athletes undertook studies at the IBS College of TVET however, three did not complete studies due to personal reasons.
Of the six that graduated, four of them completed their studies in Certificate 3 in Business and two graduated in Certificate 3 in IT.
(Dr. Dhirumal, left, and Ryan Pini, back, with the six graduating athletes from the IBS College of TVET)