SILVER JUBILLEE: Stan Joyce, Auvita Rapilla and Minister Tkatchenko officiating at the 25th launch of the SP Sports Awards at the Brewkettle in Port Moresby in February. PHOTO: A. Molen/PNGOC.
It was 1992 and the country was still recovering from the joy and excitement of topping the medal tally on home soil at what was regarded as the best South Pacific Games ever, the year before.
The PNG crowd got to see their best athletes shine on home soil for the first time since the 1969 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
For many years, since the inception of the South Pacific Games in 1963, our athletes proudly stood on the world stage and through their achievements told the world where they came from.
It was after the great achievements of the 9th South Pacific Games in 1991 that it was time for PNG to give recognition and show appreciate to its sporting heroes.
Taking the lead were people and organisations with the passion for sport with its athletes, technical officials and key partners at heart.
“We wanted to recognize the achievements of our athletes and officials so I did some research and came up with the idea of the Sports Awards,” said Sir John Dawanincura.
Sir John was Secretary General of the PNG Sports Federation & Olympic Committee (PNGSFOC) then and he wanted to find a way for the country to recognize the efforts and achievements of its sporting heroes.
“I did some research and after some discussions and the support from the (PNGSFOC) executives, we came up with the Sports Awards,” he said.
To ensure its success and long lasting appeal, the PNGSFOC approached partners which saw lasting relationships forged with the then PNG Sports Commission and the SP Brewery.
“SP Brewery was the first choice because of our long association with them through the Fun Run which we had since 1983,” Sir John said.
SP Brewery secured the naming rights of the event and have been a great partner of it ever since.
In order for the performances for the 1991 Games to be rewarded, negotiations for the new SP Sports Awards took place the same year and by 1992 everything was ready for the inaugural event to happen.
“The biggest challenge for getting the Sports Awards going, as with all of our other major projects was in securing a naming rights sponsor and we are grateful to SP Brewery for their support of the Sports Awards over the last 24 years,” Sir John said.
Since 1992, the SP Sports Awards has grown with the number of categories, nominations and in reputation, as the highest sporting award in PNG for recognizing sporting achievements.
During its foundation, Sir John always had a long-term vision for the Sports Awards and 25 years on he is extremely pleased that it is still going and has earned the respect of sports men and women, sponsors and the public as well.
He is also grateful for the continued support of SP Brewery as the major partner of the Olympic Committee for the SP Sports Awards.
Sir John also acknowledged the PNG Sports Foundation who continue to ensure the best is done for PNG’s sports men and women in both the local and international scene.
Sir John joined the organizing committee this year in encouraging the public to send in their nominations before the deadline on April 14, 2017.
In order for you to be eligible for an award, you must nominate by filling out the nomination form and attaching additional information with it and dropping it at the PNG Olympic Committee office or send to the address on the nomination form.