Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – July 1, 2020: 11:36am (THE NATIONAL): Papua New Guineaâ€™s team for next yearâ€™s Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan, is eyeing a bigger participation following the Gamesâ€™ deferral over the Covid-19 pandemic.
Para-athletesâ€™ coaching coordinator Peter Pulu said the postponement of the Games to next year gave a wider time frame for PNG to prepare and qualify para-athletes for the tournament.
Pulu made special mention of Nellie Leva (javelin) and Morea Mararos (seated javelin), two para-athletes who had qualified earlier this year.
â€œBefore the state of emergency (SOE), things were running really well, two of our athletes qualified, Nellie and Morea,â€ he told The National last week.
â€œBut since the Games have been postponed, we have a chance to get at least one or two more qualified.
â€œWith the SOE now lifted, weâ€™re working towards getting our other athletes prepared so that they can have a chance to
â€œItâ€™s going to be a good opportunity for them to get ready, so that they are at their best and they can be confident going into their qualifiers.â€
Pulu said on top of the extended time to prepare, the recent funding of A$250,000 (K591,000) from the Australian government to the PNG Olympic Committee had offered extra help to send more athletes out to prepare and qualify for the Olympics and Paralympics.
â€œI think itâ€™s a big bonus for all of us and for all sports in the country because we have at least a year from now to get ourselves organised with the funding from the Australian government,â€ he said.
â€œAll our athletes have a good chance and our preparations are really looking good now.
â€œOur athletes and their coaches will not worry too much on how they will be going and the costs involved in their lead- up meets and qualifiers.â€. (PACNEWS)