PNG Games deferred
By ISAAC LIRI
THE Papua New Guinea Games has been deferred to November because of weather concerns and the readiness of provincial teams, as well as a clash with the school calendar.
The PNG Games Council’s executive committee met last Thursday in Port Moresby and decided to defer the event for the second time.
The first rescheduling of the Games occurred last year to make way for the Fifa Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Port Moresby and the second deferral was based primarily because of the wet weather forecast for the month.
The meeting included the Games host organising committee and the National Weather Service.
The new dates for the games in Kimbe, West New Britain, are Nov 18 to Dec 1.
PNG Sports Foundation chief executive and PNG Games Council chairman Peter Tsiamalili Jr said the decision to defer came about after recommendations at the meeting.
Tsiamalili and Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko voiced their disappointment on the deferral but have agreed based on facts presented by the host organising committee and the National Weather Service.
“For me, I wanted the Games to continue leading up to the election and new government but unfortunately the weather is not permitting, along with other relevant reasons,” Tkatchenko said.
Evidence put forward by the HOC include pictures of venues under water and expert advice from the weather service affirming the continuation of heavy precipitation in the days leading into March.
The readiness of the provincial teams was another reason for the deferral.
“Because of the lead up to the elections, a lot of the governors and the open members have not been in a position to support their teams participate in this year’s Games which is a concern because they have other important issues and I am sure with the change now in place, everything will be rectified sooner,” the Sports minister said.
“We also cannot host the PNG Games if only half of provinces turn up. We have to have every province available and with the new dates set, I believe that everything will be on target,” he said.
He said if there was a new government in place by August there would still be enough time to get organised since most of the foundation work had been done.
He said the education calendar was another factor for the deferral.
“We are working with the Education Department to have the school holidays on the time of the PNG Games to allow the school infrastructure in the West New Britain province to accommodate the provincial teams.”
Despite the deferral, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has advised Tkatchenko to see all infrastructure work continue and be concluded by April. O’Neill and Tkatchenko will officially open the facilities before the elections.