TAKING ON THE WORLD: Tam PNG athletes and officials with PNGOC Secretary General, Auvita Rapilla at the YOG in Buenos Aires. PHOTO: Team PNG.
Following the Opening Ceremony on October 6th, swimmer, Leonard Kalate was the first athlete to compete for Team PNG at the Youth Olympic Games that is being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He took to the water on Saturday October 7 and was impressive in his opening race with a personal best in the 100m breaststroke with a personal best time of, 1.07.32 beating his previous personal best which was 1.07.28, just by 0.04.
That was followed up by a swim of 31.45 in the 100m breaststroke on Thursday 11 October.
Swimming is one of two sports that Papua New Guinea is being represented in at the YOG, the other is golf which is being contested by Natalie Mok in the girls division and Terence Coleman in the boys.
Both athletes have completed their rounds in the individual events on the challenging course which they have not been exposed to before. They did their best and will now turn their focus to the mixed team event which both will combine to participate in when it get underway on Monday 15 October.
The team is headed by Karo Lelai as the Chef de Mission with General Manager, Lua Rikis and Young Change Maker, James Leia.
Apart from the exciting atmosphere of the Games, Papua New Guinea is represented on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) administration where important discussions are held among representatives from all over the world.
Lelai, Rikis and PNG Olympic Committee Secretary General, Auvita Rapilla and her Deputy, Andrew Lepani attended the Olympism in Action Forum which was held on October 5th and 6th.
The main focus of the Olympism In Action Forum was on the future of sport itself. Speakers discussed the future of sport, what the future fan might look like and how the process of hosting the Olympic Games is evolving to become more flexible, cost-effective and focused on ensuring a sustainable legacy for the host city, region and nation.
Rapilla who is an IOC Member also attend the 133rd IOC Session which was held from October 8th to the 9th in Buenos Aires.
It was at this session that Dakar in Senegal was chosen as the hosts for the next YOG which will be held in 2022.
Rapilla said apart from the events of the Games, the Forum and related meetings are a great opportunity for Team PNG’s leaders to be part of high level discussions about sport and development.
She encouraged them to participate actively in the discussions as well as during the course of the YOG and establishment good relationships that can assist them in their respective sporting roles and responsibilities.
Meanwhile, another PNG Olympic Committee staff, Chris Amini has also left the country to participate in the US Olympic Committee’s Coaching Enrichment Program in Colorado. Another exciting opportunity which will equip Amini with the tool for running his sports development and enhancement programs for PNG athletes.
The YOG also has activities and cultural activities for athletes and team members to participate in. It creates an atmosphere of unity, respect and friendship among athletes from different countries and cultures.
The Games will close on October 18th.