Ryan Maskelyne completed a successful night (Tuesday 27 July) for Team PNG as he broke his own National Record in the 200m Breaststroke at Tokyo Aquatics Centre to finish second in his heat.
Maskelyne who is based in Brisbane, Australia was ecstatic with setting a new National Record and attributed his performance to his work with his coach Shaun Crow.
“It was pretty special. I didn’t have the best preparation for the last week as I have been dealing with some issues with my knee and Matthew (Team PNG physio) has been awesome with helping me sorting that issue out,” said an elated Maskelyne.
“I thought I was going to go slower than what I did six weeks ago at the Australian trials which was 2:17.56. To go out and do a personal best and do it at the Olympics is pretty special”.
“My goals were to be the best Pacific Islander in my event, set a personal best and win my heat. To tick off two out of my three goals is amazing”.
Maskelyne has stated that “having the opportunity to live and train in Brisbane has been a great blessing throughout this time as Queensland has been largely unaffected by the COVID pandemic over the last 12 months.
“There have been a few short 3 day lockdowns in which I was given permission to train through, by the Queensland Government.
“The biggest thing for me over the past 12 months is training to full capacity without a clear indication if the games would actually go ahead”.
Maskelyne was born in PNG and started competing for Team PNG at the 2015 Pacific Games.
He represented Team PNG again to the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015 (Samoa) and 2017 (Bahamas) and in 2017 at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.
In 2019 at the Samoa Pacific Games, he won silver in the 200m Breaststroke.
He won the SP Sports Awards PNG Junior Sportsman of the year in 2017.
Chef de Mission Tamzin Wardley confirmed that Tokyo 2020 was Maskelyne’s Olympic debut.
“Maskelyne’s goal from these games is to swim better than his personal best time of 2 minutes 15.55 seconds for the 200m breaststroke and to be the highest placed Pacific Islander at the Games.
“He took part in the Australian Trials in June, in Adelaide but missed out on obtaining a qualifying time.
He is attending the Games based on the Olympic Committee’s universality program that allows a male and female athlete from every competing country in the world to take part.
Maskelyne is PNG’s current top ranked swimmer.”
Maskelyne said “to take part in any Olympics is an unreal feat and something that I am incredibly humbled by.
“Given the circumstances of these Olympics and that it has nearly been cancelled on multiple occasions, I feel this makes these games even more special and unique.
“I am honoured and proud to be able to represent Papua New Guinea on the world’s biggest stage.”