All teams and athletes for the Pacific Games have been finalised and endorsed by the PNG Olympic Committee’s justification committee, says Team PNG chef de mission Faye Zina Lalo.
With the games set to kick off in Honiara in the next two weeks, about 382 athletes are confirmed to compete in 21 sporting events.
The first charter to Honiara with part of the Team PNG athletes is set to leave PNG’s shores on Nov 13 with about 136 athletes and officials, less than two weeks from now.
The teams that travel earlier are basketball, football, table tennis, tennis and volleyball who will start competition on Nov 17, before the opening ceremony on Nov 19.
Lalo said from the initial 24 sport, sailing, judo and rugby nines were axed and the recent exclusion was Karate leaving only 20 sport set for the Honiara games.
“Karate has now been dropped because there’s very specific requirements on which sports can qualify for a specific game,” Lalo told The National.
“It means that when you’re preparing for a game, you’ve got to be engaging in tournaments, national events, and then international events. (Federations) have to tick those boxes in order to prepare for a big game such as the Pacific Games.
Unfortunately for karate, there were several requirements they did not meet. Everyone goes through the process with the justification committees, they were unable to meet it, and as a result the justification committee has dropped the sport.”
This leaves only athletics, basketball (3×3 & 5×5), beach volleyball, body building, boxing, football, golf, hockey, netball, powerlifting, rugby 7s, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, touch footy, triathlon, va’a, volleyball and weightlifting.
“All the team sports and individual sports have been confirmed with their final squads where we had our team bonding session on Sunday,” said Lalo.
“Some sports that have paid their levy fees and then there are others who didn’t pay. We are still appealing to the sports to pay their levies because we have a K5.3 million participation budget.
“We’ve got to get on the charters, we’ve got to look after the athletes, build up our clinic to look after the athletes and all that costs money. “The government really hasn’t failed Team PNG, the government’s always supported us. So they’ve already made a commitment that they will support this team. To this day, we’re liaising with them to draw down on that promise.”