CONGRATULATIONS are in order for Team PNG for an all-round pleasing effort at the just completed Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna.
Papua New Guinea finished on top of the medal table out of a field of 20 countries.
Tahiti finished second with 26 gold and an overall tally of 40 medals.
Other traditionally strong performers in Fiji (11 gold) and New Caledonia (18 gold) under-performed. Thirty gold medals (as of 5pm yesterday) in an overall haul of 86 medals (26 silver and 30 bronze) is a feat worth crowing about, especially given that PNG has not topped a Mini Games since 1985 in the Cook Islands.
That’s a 28-year wait but it could be a good omen for PNG as it heads into the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
The sports that stood out were athletics, led by Toea Wisil and Mowen Boino, which bagged 15 gold; the weightlifters packed some punch bringing in 13 gold medals, Theresa Tona underlied her dominance in women’s taekwondo, winning gold as expected and our men caused a boil-over in volleyball, beating home town favourites Wallis and Futuna in the final.
This is good news for PNG’s hopes of winning only their second Pacific Games in 2015 – the last time was in 1991 when Port Moresby and Lae hosted the event.
Team PNG should not rest on their laurels as they can be certain that the Pacific Games will bring out the best in their rivals and if they are not on their game in 21 months any hopes of claiming the top position will be dashed.
So athletes in the different codes must continue to lift their intensity and strive to improve on their Mini Games performances.
But the athletes alone must not carry the burden of bringing more glory for the country.
That responsibility must be shared by the organisers, the Pacific Games Council and its committees. A team effort for the best outcome.
The National / One PNG