Taekwondo Papua New Guinea President, John Cholai says its squad for the Pacific Games are aiming for podium finishes as they finalise their preparation, with their competition set for 28 – 29 November in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Cholai said following the Pacific Games, the team would go on to compete in the World Taekwondo-sanctioned Oceania Championship which will see the inclusion of their para-athletes.
“The taekwondo competitions are over two days on Nov 28-29, followed by the World Taekwondo-sanctioned Para and the Oceania Games,” Cholai told The National this week.
“Para-athlete Adrian Paupi will lead the para team while the PNG team will also participate in the Oceania Championships.
“Despite minimal funding for development training, Taekwondo PNG appreciates the support of Kumul Consolidated Holdings in providing funds through the PNG Olympic Committee to send our athletes to the Australian Open in Brisbane, as well as the New Ireland Government for supporting their New Island Sports Taekwondo Association, led by Jonathan Paschalis.”
Cholai said the team had seasoned fighters such as Bobby Willie and Rosemary Tona and young athletes who were given the opportunity to represent PNG for the first time such as Gerard Chare, Dereq Kassman, Amanda Kanau, Edna Jack and Marae Paschalis.
“The team has been training since the national championships in February under guidance of national coach Edward Kassman, female coach Theresa Tona, and strength and conditioning coach Colland Kokin,” Cholai said.
“Team manageress Grace Illa has been supporting the team with coordination of all activities, including NID (national identity cards), passports and general team management to ensure all is in order before they travel to the Games.
“Barring any injuries to the lead up to the games, Taekwondo team are aiming for podium finishes in all categories, spiced with Gold medal performances as our contribution to the PNG medal tally.” Squad – (men’s) Bobby Willie (56kg), Paul Mou (58kg), Dereq Kassman (63kg), Kevin Kassman (68kg), Morea Doura (74kg), Gerard Chare (80kg), Rex Roko (87kg), Vespa John (+87kg). (women’s) Yvette Boyama (46kg), Rose Tona (47kg), Marae Paschalis (53kg), Amanda Kanau (57kg), Andrea Wagiam (62kg), Edna Jack (67kg), Patricia Kulinias (73kg), Enila Soma (+73 kg).