Athletics PNG is pressing ahead with plans to stage the PNG Air Grand Prix and National Championships in Kimbe starting on 26 November, following the receipt of approval from the Provincial Administration in Kimbe.
Sports Director Conrad Golumu is now liaising with Athletics PNG for the conduct of the event through the Venue Management team led by Nolene Pidik.
Port Moresby based athletes were able to resume training at the Sir John Guise stadium on 1st November and whilst some have opted to skip the Grand Prix and focus on the championships, there will still be a few athletes from NCD joining other national squad members in Kimbe for the Grand Prix which will serve as a warm up event for the Championships.
Meanwhile over in Kimbe the local athletes are excitedly gearing up for the competitions ahead despite the disappointment of the cancellation of the NGI Championships in Kokopo.
With ENB Province in lockdown and with a curfew in place it was clearly not practical to conduct the event at this time.
The athletes most looking forward to the Grand Prix are the middle and long-distance groups based in Kerowagi Simbu Province and at Utmei Secondary school in ENB. Following the successful PNG Air Grand Prix in Port Moresby early in July these athletes have been looking forward to the second round.
Top competition is expected in the mens middle and long-distance events with George Yamak, Dilu Goiye Abel Siune, Siune Kagl, Wilford Baia and Adolf Kauba expected to be amongst the leading contenders.
In the womens events Mary Tenge who was dominant in Port Moresby will face stronger competition this time from Scholastica Herman and Aina Goir.
With many of the country’s top male sprinters in the USA at the present time, the Grand Prix and National Championships provide the opportunity for the next generation to show what they can do.
Local favourite Graham Bai will be up against Paias Wisil and Jobbie Kinzu from NSI as well as NCD based Chabby Solomon and Terrence Talio.
With very little athletic activity in ENB this year it is not known whether there will be a team at the Championships other than the small Utmei group.
There will however be a small team from New Ireland coached by 1991 Pacific games 400m champion Subul Babo.
Meanwhile Lae, Bulolo, Simbu, East Sepik and Popondetta are also understood to be preparing to send a few athletes each to Kimbe.
Attendance at the National Championships is very important for those PNG based athletes seeking a place in the team for the Pacific Mini Games this year.
Obviously, we have to adapt to the situation we have with the effect of the pandemic on training and competition said President Tony Green but the fact is that the Championships are the last major event we will have before the entry deadline is upon us.
This means we have to go with the results and information available to us. The selection policy for the Games can be viewed via the APNG Facebook page and website.
Green also stated that Athletics PNG was working to ensure that established team members and those athletes with the proven ability to make the team will make it over to Kimbe