The 2012 Papua New Guinea Grassroots Games will be held in Kokopo, East New Britain (ENB) in November and the tag ‘grassroots’ signifies the opportunity for the average Joe to be a part of this sporting celebration and showcase their talents. However, for many there is a large brick wall that is stopping them from going any further – and that is the K700 levy fee imposed by the national sporting body.

K700 is a very large amount for grassroots. It would take on average at least a month for most people to earn this amount (if you don’t have any other expenses). This has, too often, resulted in athletes of very high caliber being left out and subsequently the country losing out on potential medals in international events. The levy fee problem can be compared to the idea of bright students leaving school because of fees. But you also have to question why the fees are so high?

If our sporting body was really interested in recruiting raw local sporting talent, then they would have minimized the fees to an affordable amount like K250 per athlete. After all, the more people participate, the better chances you have of finding elites instead of settling for only those who can afford it.

I believe the K700 levy fee is a slap in the face of the average Papua New Guinean with the athletic ability to compete and a major obstacle to sporting development in the country.

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