Tribute to pioneer athlete

Late Rosa was a shy 18-year-old who attended Special Olympics PNG’s first ever meeting at Sir John Guise Stadium with her parents William and Helen Nege.

The date was 27th September 2012, the date Special Olympics Papua New Guinea (SOPNG) was born.

“Rosa was our first registered athlete and in the following year, February 2013, Rosa represented Papua New Guinea at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea,” said SOPNG.

“She competed in 50m/100m snow shoeing, finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Rosa became the only PNG athlete, able or disabled, to attend a Winter Olympics. She then went on to represent PNG at the 2013 Asia/Pacific Games in Newcastle, Australia, where she won 2 medals; 1 gold in 100m sprint and 1 silver in shotput.

“In 2015, she and seven (7) other athletes attended the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, USA, where she won a bronze in 100m sprint.

“In 2017, Rosa participated in the Special Olympics Queensland State Championships in Sunshine Coast, Australia. She won 1 gold medal in shotput and 1 bronze medal in 100m sprints.

“Last year, she again attended her second World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where she won 1 gold medal in the Bocce Mix doubles competition, partnering Siosi Sebastian.

“Rosa won a total of three gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze in athletics and bocce.

“Being a pioneer athlete, she also took on the leadership role of being an athlete leader after training under Special Olympics Athlete Leadership mentor, Susie Bennett, of Special Olympics Australia and Special Olympics PNG team leader for the Healthy Communities Program, Dr. Andrew Ame.

“Rosa was regarded as a health ambassador; this meant that Rosa was able to travel out with Dr Ame and his medical team on the weekend to communities, settlements and villages around the outskirts of Port Moresby and Central Province to provide free medical screenings, health and nutrition promotions. Rosa was very happy with her new role.

“Rosa was always well-behaved and would not hesitate to tell fellow athletes off if she saw them being naughty. She was always cool under pressure, an attribute that is critical in a sport like bocce and Special Olympics Papua New Guinea’s ‘Voice of Reason’.

“Special Olympics Papua New Guinea salutes Rosa Nege and thank her parents Willie and Helen Nege, including her siblings and volunteers, Jared, Kingston and Isaiah, for supporting their daughter and sister take part in Special Olympics Papua New Guinea’s program both locally and abroad.

“Special Olympics Papua New Guinea has surely lost a leader and trailblazer at only 26 years old. RIP Champ!”

(Rosa Nege with the Narara brothers in Abu Dhabi, showing off the gold medal she won in bocce at the World Summer Games in 2019)

Press release