The first session was held on January 28 at the High Performance Centre in Port Moresby.
The targeted athletes are members of the development squad which have been in intensive training since 2019. There have been some changes to the squad with the core of the squad remaining while the rest have been excluded from the 2020 program due to non-commitment to training.
National Development Officer, Andrew Molen, said the sport is starting to get recognition from the international wushu community and a pool of athletes need to be ready for any event on its calendar.
“We have invitations coming in for this year and those on the program will be given priority when we’re considering a team. Others, including those previously on the squad, will have to work hard for a place if they wish to be considered,” he said.
Among the events on the KFWA PNG 2020 calendar is the 1st Asia Pacific Kung Fu Championships and Arnold Sports Festival in March and the Sanda World Cup in September, all in Australia.
Molen said a first national Wushu competition is in the plans for KFWA PNG where all athletes will have the opportunity to compete for placings however, the focus now is on the development squad.
The current team is: Male athletes; Dickson Walter, Tony Mitu Junior, Bostany Elo, John Kevin, Patrick Kasamento, Liawe Michael, Cosmas Saliawali, Cyprian Luvi, Petrus Sam. Female athletes; Bellanie Kambari, Tattiana Abola and Audrey McRubin.
Not all of the athletes are kung fu wushu students; some come from other martial art and combat sport backgrounds, especially those competing in the category of sanda (free fighting).
“We understand that they have their own programs from their respective clubs and associations but we encourage them to be committed to the wushu program. While the principles of traditional martial arts are similar, the sports aspect of it is different in terms of rules, techniques and the judging methods.
“We also emphasise high level of fitness to be competitive in their respective divisions,” said Molen.
President of KFWA PNG, Geoff Hui, congratulated the athletes for being part of the team for another year and also thanked them for their commitment to training.
“Wushu is a new sport in PNG and you are the pioneers. You are already part of our history and I am looking forward to seeing you continue to develop and grow with us,” Hui said.
This is the second year for PNG wushu as a participating sport with their first appearance on the world scene happening in 2019 at the 15th World Wushu Championships in Shanghai.
Molen was the lone representative from PNG to that event and also attended a two-week training course at the Shanghai University of Sport prior to it.
Hui thanked High Performance Sport PNG for their support to the PNG wushu team for the use of training space and assisting in their strength and conditioning (S&C) program.
The team trains on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for their skills sessions and will be adding their S&C program onto that in the coming weeks.
(Wushu athletes doing warm up during their first training session last week at the TAIC in Port Moresby)