THE first lot of Team Papua New Guinea athletes and officials arrived yesterday in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara and settled in at the King John VI High School Games Village where they will be based during the Pacific Games.
Chef de mission Faye Zina Lalo led a team of 136 athletes from three sports, officials, games management and medical team in the first chartered flight.
The second lot of the team will leave in another charter tomorrow with athletes and officials from six sports who will compete in the first week of the games.
“Today (yesterday) we had three sports travelling, that’s football (men’s and women’s team), basketball 5×5 (men’s and women’s) and table tennis,” Lalo told The National yesterday.
“The second charter leaves on Wednesday (tomorrow) with athletes from golf, rugby sevens, swimming, tennis, volleyball and weightlifting.”
Five of those sports will start their competitions on Friday before the opening ceremony on Sunday while the others will kick off competitions next week.
According to the games scheduled released last week, tennis, table tennis, basketball, football and volleyball are set to start on Friday.
Weightlifting will be the next sport to start its competition on Monday followed by golf on Wednesday and sevens rugby the next day.
Six of those sports are likely return to PNG after their competition ends to make way for the other half of the contingent who will fly into Honiara on Nov 26.
Lalo said this was part of the requirement set by the games organising committee in order to cater for the team.
This arrangement will see only the first group participate in the opening ceremony and return to PNG once their competitions end. The second batch of players and officials will travel in the second week of competition and stay for the remainder of the games until the closing ceremony on Dec 2.
“Honiara is quite a small place, and the games organising committee also appealed to all the participating countries to only send the teams that are participating in the first week hence this arrangement,” said Lalo.
“There’s a requirement on us to then send our team out to make space for the next contingent of athletes and officials that will come in in the second week.
“So we’ve got to help the host country cater for everyone to participate in the sports.”
The codes that will travel in the second week are athletics, boxing, beach volleyball, bodybuilding, basketball (3×3), hockey, netball, powerlifting, taekwondo, touch football, triathlon and va’a.
The National / PNG Pacific Games
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