Papua New Guinea has announced its flag bears for Team PNG with tennis ace, Mathew Stubbings and champion woman footballer, Ramona Padio to lead Team PNG to the XVII Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands this month.
The duo will lead the team into the National Stadium on 19th November during the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
This was announced during the Team PNG farewell ceremony on Friday 10th in Port Moresby by the PNG Olympic Committee.
President of the PNG Olympic Committee Sir John Dawanincura said, they are blessed to have such a wide diverse set of athletes, ranging in experience from those seasoned Games veterans to the new and next generation’s Team PNG athletes.
He said, “Being the Team PNG Flag Bearer is a unique responsibility that places you in an elite and distinguished class with those who elegantly carried the flag and its responsibilities before you.”
Stubbings has attended two Pacific Games and one Commonwealth Youth Games.
He represented Papua New Guinea well at these Games winning a Silver Medal in the Mixed Doubles at the 2015 Pacific Games at the age of 15.
Stubbings also won a Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Youth\ Games in the Mixed Doubles the same year.
Two years later in 2017, Stubbings won a Silver Medal in the Men’s Singles at the Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
At the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa in 2019, at the Pacific Games, Stubbings won Silver in both the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
The 2022 Pacific Mini Games was another successful endeavour for Stubbings and his most recent.
He won a Silver Medal in the Men’s Singles and Gold Medal in the Mixed Doubles.
Stubbings is ranked number one in the National Senior Ranking and number two in the Pacific Oceania Senior Ranking this year.
He is poised yet again to bring PNG more medals at the 2023 Pacific Games, and now, he also has the honour to be one of the Flag Bearers for Team PNG.
Padio on the other hand was one of the members of the Gold Medal winning women’s football team at the 2015 and 2019 Pacific Games.
The PNG women’s football team has won a Gold Medal in the last five consecutive Pacific Games starting with the 2003 Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji.
It will be a great feat if they can go one more this year and make it six consecutive Pacific Games Gold Medals in Women’s Football.
Padio has been part of the National Women’s Football team for many years, and also represented PNG in the 2018 and 2022 OFC Women’s Championship in New Caledonia and Fiji, the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers, the 2016 and 2023 World Cup qualifiers, 2017 Under 19 OFC Championship, and the 2023 Club championship.
Padio is also credited with having great leadership qualities and is currently the Co-Captain for the Women’s National Team, and at Club level plays in the Women’s National Soccer League with the Hekari United Football Club.
Padio who was excited to be given the honour said: “Thank you for the opportunity and we are going to bring back the 6th Gold medal” to a roar of approval from the rest of Team PNG.”
2019 Flag Bearer, Abigail Tere-Apisah was present at the farewell ceremony to pass on the flag which was then presented by PNG Prime Minister, James Marape to the two champions.
Sir John said, “I am looking forward to watching you lead our Team PNG contingent out during the Opening Ceremony in Honiara, and then onwards into the Games.”
“God Speed Team PNG!”