The Commonwealth Games gold medallists glittered on Saturday evening as weightlifting sparkled by scooping the major awards at the 23rd SP Sports Award in Port Moresby.
The hottest gold medal prospects for the Pacific Games, Kari and Toua claimed the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards.
Their achievements were complemented by junior lifters, Fred Oala and Bea Ovia, who snatched the junior male and female athletes of the year awards.
For Kari and Toua it was a continuation of a week of celebrations after being last week invested with the Order of Logohu Award.
Kari, who became a back-to-back Sportsman of the Year, was modest in having the latest accolade draped across his young shoulders; simply saying he was concentrating on training and improving his performance.
“I am not looking forward for anything from here but to concentrate on my training and getting prepared for the Pacific Games,” he said.
“Recognition like this is part of the process, which can come if only we get things right.”
Weightlifting’s darling of the moment, Toua, was equally modest in picking up her fourth Sportswoman of the Year award, thanking her sponsors for standing by her.
Their victories gave weightlifting an added sheen and left the sports fraternity drooling at the prospects of more gold medals from them in early July.
Junior Male Athlete of the Year Oala did not attend the awards night because he is away training at the Oceania Institute of Sports in Noumea, New Caledonia.
His parents, Fred and Annette, received the award on his behalf.
PNG Weightlifting president Sir John Dawanincura was a proud man.
He said it was a milestone achievement for their four lifters.
“This is awesome and motivates other lifters to realise their dream and continue to perform so they can follow on to be recognised,” he said.
Sir John said for weightlifting the awards were all about team work and the credit went to their long term sponsors, Trukai Industries Limited, their coaches and administrators.
He thanked South Pacific Brewery for its long-term commitment to the awards, and other stakeholders and the Government for its continued support for the Go for Gold programme.
Earlier Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko encouraged all the finalists, saying such recognition could be used as an inspirational tool to push them towards excelling at the Port Moresby Pacific Games, which starts in 97 days.
“And that is the kind of relationship we must maintain leading up to the Games,” Tkatchenko said.
Guest speaker, rugby league Kumuls mentor Mal Meninga encouraged the finalists to set goals and work towards achieving them.
“When I was a kid growing up I really did not have goals but it was only when I was 18 years old that I started to instil these (goals and values) and that developed me into becoming the Canberra captain in the National Rugby League, the Queensland Maroons and the Australian Kangaroos,” he said.
2014/15 Sports awardees:
Sports Photo of the Year: Benson Upas (Race to glory);
Sports Media Award: Ephata Samuel (NBC);
Sports Official of the Year: Sue Babao (swimming);
Best Sports Person with Disability: Elias Larry (Paralympics);
Junior Female Athlete of the Year: Bea Ovia (weightlifting);
Junior Male Athlete of the Year: Fred Oala (weightlifting);
Community Sports Initiative Award: ((Family Support Programme – Special Olympics);
National Performance of the Year: George Yamak (athletics);
Team of the Year: Mosquitoes;
People’s Choice Award: Abigail Tere-Apisah;
Sportswoman of the Year: Dika Toua (weightlifting);
Sportsman of the Year: Steven Kari (weightlifting).