Athletics PNG’s priority at the moment is ensuring that athletes can continue training for the PNG Air Grand Prix and National Championships, as these events will form an important part of the process for selecting teams for the Pacific Mini Games next year.
Those who normally use PNG Sports Foundation facilities which are closed at present are being encouraged to think outside the box and look for alternatives.
We saw last year during the first lockdown that coaches in Port Moresby were being resourceful and adapting to the situation.
Coach Allan Akia in Lae is taking his athletes to work out on the road to Mount Lunaman several times a week and a large group of athletes went to Labu recently to do some training there on the beach.
We are liaising closely with Pandemic Sports Committee through Dr Kapua Kapua for approval to continue training in small groups and have written letters to the Deputy Controller and to the CEO PNG Sports Foundation.
The Sir John Guise Stadium is currently locked down for sanitisation but we are seeking permission for National Squad athletes to be allowed to use the track.
We hope to gain approval for athletes to train in small groups (following strict covid-19 protocols) at Sir John Guise Stadium and it is after all a big open space.
We have also issued a statement recently encouraging all our athletes and officials to get vaccinated in preparation for travel to competitions.
Clearly the current situation will have an impact on the Southern Region Championships which was planned for November 6 and 7.
No final decision has been made yet and we are waiting to see what happens in the next week or so. As far as the NGI Championships go we haven’t had any report of any lockdowns or measures in ENB that will have an impact on this event.
For the PNG Air Grand Prix in Kimbe we remain hopeful that this programme can go ahead as it does not involve a large gathering of people.
Its just a few events and a small number of athletes and officials and we are seeking a meeting with the authorities in Kimbe on this matter.
Given the importance of the National Championship for selection purposes, every effort will be made to stage the event. If covid restrictions mean that we have to limit the number of participants and focus on the Open Division then that’s what we will do.
Again, we are liaising with the Provincial Authorities in Kimbe to obtain approval to safely stage a successful Championships.
With respect to the many questions about alternatives if the measure prolong, we believe that we have to adapt to the current situation and do not believe that suspending all activity is a necessary or a viable option.
There has been widespread acceptance that Covid is a fact of life now,and that life must go , but the adoption of Niupela pasin.
We have to learn to live with covid and we sincerely hope that the relevant authorities will allow us to continue our preparations for the Pacific Games and Commonwealth Games.