The event kicks off on Friday, November 13th, at the Sasindran Muthuvel Stadium.
Despite the disruption to training this year caused by COVID-19 restrictions, the athletics programme in the province, led by Coach Wilson Malana, has been very active with a number of weekly competitions having already been held.
With the support of Athletics PNG and its sponsor, PNG Air, the WNB athletes will benefit from strong competition from a total of 15 national and development squad athletes flying in from East New Britain, Simbu, Goroka, Port Moresby and Lae. This number includes three NSI sponsored development squad athletes who will be travelling from Goroka with Coach Samu Sasama.
With PNG’s own photo finish expert, George Moramoro, on hand to provide fully automatic timing, the national athletes will be looking forward to seeing where they are with the National Championships only three weeks away.
Athletics PNG President, Tony Green, congratulated the WNB association for its efforts in putting on the championships at this time and thanked the West New Britain provincial authorities for their support.
After 12 months of training under coach Nelson Stone, Port Moresby based Leroy Kamau will be the man to beat in the 100m and 200m. However, with Michael Penny and a host of quality young sprinters in the field, including Wewak’s Emmanuel Anis and West New Britain’s Graeme Bai, who dominated the recent NGI Championships, getting a place in the men’s 100m final will be very competitive.
The men’s 1500m, 3000m and 5000m are expected to be hotly contested with the in-form Utmei secondary students Siune Kagl and Israel Takap facing Abel Siune, who won these events at the Highlands Momase championships in September.
In the women’s middle distance events, the emerging talent in West New Britain, Dominica Kakapa, and Lawrencie Banaule will be tested by Monica Kalua and Simbu’s Bala Nicholas.
The young talent emerging in West New Britain, especially Danlyne Siliwen and Lenia Gilis, are expected to dominate the women’s sprints, however, heptathlete Edna Boafob will provide strong competition in the Open 200m, 400m and 800m.
The open men’s long jump is again expected to be the highlight of the field events with national athletes Eldan Toti and Steven Ray up against several very good youngsters from New Britain.
With the East New Britain Association focused on raising funds for the National Championships, it is understood that there will not be a large team from the province, but organisers are hoping that some athletes will still make it to Kimbe.
(Girls 4x400m during the recent NGI Championships)