Executives of the PNG CGA released the names this week following the finalization of the sports entries and an exhaustive process of selection and justification hearings, to ensure that athletes had met the qualifying standards agreed to by their national sporting federations and the PNG CGA or were regarded as the best in Papua New Guinea, for their particular event.
Team PNG Chef de Mission to the Commonwealth Games, Tamzin Wardley thanked the Executive Board for their decision saying this was a difficult process compared to previous Commonwealth Games, as for the first time the Commonwealth Games Federation enforced quotas on individual athlete places, so athletes were competing against each other for final spots.
The team consists of 56 athletes and 32 officials including the General Management Team. They will participate in 10 of the 23 sports offered during the Games which will run from April 4th to 15th. The 10 sports are; Athletics (Para-Athletics), Boxing, Lawn Bowls, Rugby 7s, Shooting, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis (Para-Table Tennis), Triathlon and Weightlifting.
The team will feature gold medalists from the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, weightlifters, Steven Kari and Dika Toua along with Olympic number six, Morea Baru.
Weightlifting and Rugby 7s were the two sports that qualified through a Games qualification process. The men’s Rugby 7s team did this through their fourth place finish at the 2017 Oceania Championships.
Para-athletes competing at the Games also had to go through a qualification process.
Although no PNG para-athletes were able to qualify on merit, the PNG CGA was pleased to have Samuel Nason of para-athletics and Vero Nime of para-table tennis receive universality place invites from the Games Organizing Committee to compete.
Completing their final preparations in various parts of the world ranging from the USA to New Caledonia to Australia and PNG, the Team PNG athletes on the final squad are all excited at the prospect of competing against the Commonwealth’s best on the Gold Coast.
With the Gold Coast so close to PNG, Wardley is confident that the team will feel at home when they move in to the athletes’ village in late March which makes it easier for those who feel uneasy competing away.
Team PNG returned with two gold medals from the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and while there is an air of confidence in the team Wardley says they will not be putting extra pressure on athletes with their expectations.
“At their best, Papua New Guinea athletes are just as good as any other athletes in the world and I know their performance on the day will be fuelled by their patriotism for our country.”
“They will be giving their very best and we’ll be there to give them all the support they need to perform well,” she said.
Wardley also invited everyone to buy a Trukai Fun Run t-shirt this year as the funds raised from that goes towards sending Team PNG to the Games. She thanked Trukai for the on-going support of Team PNG.
Wardley also wanted to thank Team PNG platinum sponsor Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited for their support, which has ensured no team member had to pay a levy fee.
The public is encouraged to support Team PNG by following and sharing their updates on social media at #teampng2018 and posting well wishes to push them on.
Team PNG (barring injury) is;
General Team Management
Tamzin Wardley – Chef de Mission
Stephen Damien – General Manager
Andrew Lepani- Deputy General Manager
Asiani Vagi – Admin Officer
Christopher Amini – Athletes Representative and Operations
Dr. Kapua Kapua – Chief Medical Officer
Matthew Natusch - Physiotherapist
Michelle Fae - Physiotherapist
Sharon Arua - Masseur
Andrew Molen - Photographer/ Press Attaché
Vanessa Kerton -Photographer/ Press Attaché
Samuel Nason (Para-athlete)
Philip Newton - Head Coach
Wilson Malana - Coach
Nola Peni - Manager
Joe Aufa - Head Coach
Mark Keto - Assistant Coach
Gideon Kendino - Manager
Andy Agowaua - Manager
Kamu Walo - Coach
Douglas Guise - Coach
Damaris Minikula - Team Manager
Hendriella Vilosi – Trainer/Physiotherapist
Peter Leahy - Coach
Betty Wanma - Manager
Suari Madako Junior
Konio Vai - Manager
Robert Van Der Zant - Coach
Sarenah Pini - Manager
Vero Nime (Para-Athlete)
Rea Loi - Coach
Annie Loi - Manager
Rachel Saperi James
Tobby Coote - Coach
Willie Tamasi - Manager
Jeffrey Robby - Coach