The PNG Games a shambles!

I just got of the phone with Eli and I’m happy to share with you that she has arrived safely at Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby together with the rest of the Eastern Highlands Hockey team. For 36 hours Eli and the team waited patiently at Nadzab Airport before finally boarding a flight at around 7:00pm this evening.

36 hours without food, lodgings nor washing facilities. The official opening of the 2009 PNG Games was meant to have taken place today. As I write this post some athletes remain in Lae waiting for a seat that will get them to the Nation’s capital. Some were delayed for three days! Somehow I suspect that by the time everyone has arrived – it will be time to pack up and go home.

We have also heard that those “lucky” enough to have made it to Port Moresby are not being fed and are having to fend for themselves food-wise. In the end, I know that the PNG Games will go ahead and the participators are going to have the time of their lives – for many it’s their first time in the Capital.

However, it would certainly be welcomed to see organisers put in a concerted and better effort into the planning and logistics – so that when the time comes to walk out on to the playing field – players and officials alike are physically and mentally ready and capable of giving their best.

Papua New Guineans have an innate talent for all kinds of sports and if “management” were only more reliable and trustworthy we would surely see PNG rise to the challenge of great sporting accomplishments.

I sincerely hope that the food situation gets sorted out quick smart and the players are given decent accommodation for the duration of their stay. It would also be expected that the return flights back home are properly booked when the games finally finish. Take my word for it – Port Moresby’s is not the most hospitable of towns. A little more dignity and courtesy to the “grass roots” would take so little yet give so much.

Excerpt of a story as it appeared on today’s front page of the Post Courier:


Stranded

by Leslie Omaro from the Post Courier

A group of young sports men and women are languishing in the Markham Valley, not knowing if they will get to Port Moresby to take part in the PNG Games.

The Games are to officially open today but 200 young people from Chimbu, who travelled down the Highlands Highway excitedly from Kundiawa at 5am on Tuesday are still trying to board an Air Niugini plane to go to the nation’s capital.

“All the excitement has died and I have now on my hands a group of frustrated and angry young men and women,” Team Simbu president Arnold Gigmai said from Nadzab last night. “We have been staying out here at Nadzab airport since arriving here on Tuesday afternoon.” …

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