Athletics officials in Kokopo are gearing up for the national track and field Championships at St Peter’s Chanel College this weekend.
Twelve centres have so far confirmed to participate with New Ireland , Kimbe , Bialla, Lae , Goroka , Simbu (2 teams) , Mt Wilhelm , Enga , East Sepik , NCD and Central joining hosts east new Britain.
There was also a late indication from Manus on Tuesday that they will be sending a team.
A full range of events is offered in both Open and U18 divisions and a limited number of events for under 16. Sprint events only are offered for U14 athletes. Competition kicks off on Friday afternoon with heats in the 400m and the mens 800m plus the 10000m for both men and women and will continue all day Saturday and Sunday.
All of the US based athletes are home for the Championships and strong competition is expected in the mens sprints with the 400m being the likely highlight of the weekend. In form Theo Piniau will face Kevin Kapmatana , Wala Gime and another local rising talent Kaminiel Matlaun.
In the shorter event Junior Avefa from Goroka will be aiming to prove his readiness for the Commonwealth Games as he lines up in a strong 100m field that includes Kupun Wisil , Piniau, Gime, and Port Moresby’s Nazmie Lee Marai. The mens 800m is also likely to be a very good race with Matlaun , Kapmatana and Veherney Babob the three in form athletes.In the longer distance events Sapolai Yao will face Kupsy Bisamo and an in form Simbai Kasper who is determined to erase the memory of a disappointing Pacific Games in Wallis last year.
Sharon Kwarula will be competing at the Championships as will Adrine Monagi , Sharon Toako and Rellie Kaputin. Kokopo based Donna Koniel is expected to feature strongly in the 400m , 800m and 400m hurdles. Athletics PNG’s travelling teams for the Oceania Championships and Commonwealth Games will be announced after the Championships
Source: PNG Village