Oceania Karate Championships – Day 5

The last day of competition ended yesterday. However, due to time limitations I have not been able to post an update. For those who have been waiting, here it is.

The final medal tally for Papua New Guinea (PNG) is 16 medals; 2 silver and 14 bronze. It is unfortunate that we did not take any gold but we have only ourselves to blame.

The competition part of the program ended around 9:00pm before we were ferried to our Sayonara (Farewell) party at Yat Sen Hall which ended around 11:30pm.

Today the athletes and officials took time off to visit Suva city. However, being a Sunday, most of the shops were closed except for the MHCC mall. We also met a wantok from Finchaffen, Morobe who has been here for so long she has forgotten her own language.

It also happens that this wantok is related to our most senior athlete, Sempai Julius Piku. What are the chances!?

Wantoks
Members of Team PNG with our wantok at MHCC mall in Suva.

Before allowing the athletes to take the sights, a briefing was held and an analysis was done on individual performances. I believe the PNG Karate-do Federation (PNGKF) will release a media statement later in the week. However, we have a lot of work to do if we want to be the best in the Pacific Games in 2015.

Cathy bronze
Cathy Wilson sharing bronze with New Caledonia in her event.

Personally, I believe the Oceania championships are a higher standard that the Pacific Games because Australia and New Zealand are allowed to participate. It provides a good gauge in which we can compare our standards with the world.

The team will be traveling back home today. We will travel from Suva to Nadi around 1am on Monday morning where we will be boarding a plane around 5am.

I estimate our arrival at Port Moresby around 11am.

Oceania Karate Championships – Day 4

Today is the third day and the start of formal competition. The event was also enhanced with the presence of the World Karate Federation (WKF) President Mr Antonia Espinos and Oceania Karate Federation (OKF) President Mrs Makarita Lenoa.

WKF President
WKF President, Mr Antonio Espinos giving his speech during the opening ceremony.

The kata events were first in line, followed by the children and cadet kumité. Unfortunately, our kata competitors did not win any gold medals but we managed a silver and a couple of bronze medals. However, tomorrow the bulk of our athletes will compete and there are a few gold medal potentials.

Male Kata Team
Our male kata team; Cosmas, Nigel and Leonard.

Team PNG also squeezed in their own version of the hakka after the Kiwis decided to put up a challenge. The Fijians, New Caledonians and Tahitians also took the challenge by the Kiwis head on.

Kiwi Hakka
The Kiwis doing the hakka.

While the team were busy supporting our athletes Llane and I were preoccupied helping Philomena with the SET system and other table duties so we did not have much time to cheer our team. However, it seems we have strong support among the local wantoks.

Also today another member of our delegation, Sensei Roy Stanley arrived, and hopefully the moral support will stir and inspire our athletes to go out there and do their best.

We will formally send out the results to the media once the competition has ended.

Oceania Karate Championships – Day 3

Today the athletes had another round of training in the morning at Yat Sen and later a session for the kata competitors at Albert Park.

The male kata team getting final pointers Sensei Trevor.
The male kata team getting final pointers Sensei Trevor at Albert Park.

Almost all the other countries are here now and as usual the Australians probably have the largest contingent. New Zealand and New Caledonia have also arrived. Unfortunately, our smaller Melanesian brothers have not sent any athletes.

PNGKF President Carl Mari (right) with members of the Australian team.
PNGKF President Carl Mari (right) with members of the Australian team.

Another member of our contingent, Sensei Mark Vele, also arrived today.

Everyone is psyched up and ready for tomorrow. Competition starts around 8:30am at the Vodafone arena and a wantok we met today has promised to come and give our guys some support.

Sapos ol wantok stap nambaot long Suva, kam na sapotim ol brata na susa blong yupla tumora.

Oceania Karate Championships – Day 2

Coach
On the coach to Yat Sen hall for training.

Today, the athletes trained at Yat Sen Hall for about an hour before heading back to the hotel for a break and lunch. This was followed by accreditation and weigh-in by the athletes.

Male athletes
The male athletes ready for weigh-in and accreditation
Ms Angela
Ms Angela Birch of Fiji Karate processing the athletes for weigh-in.

Later in the evening, the team returned to the hall for another round of training and preparation.

Final preparations.
Final preparations.

Sensei Trevor Roberts concentrated on the kata competitors while coaches Sensei David Wallace and Sempai Willie Leslie polished their athletes’ kumité techniques.

Calm before the storm.
Calm before the storm…at least that’s what Sensei Trevor says.

The team is confident of a strong performance and we are optimistic on the prospect of gold in a few divisions.

Oceania Karate Championships Trip – Day 1

It’s been a long day traveling and I’ve spent more than four hours with the PNG Karate team on our way to the Oceania Karate Championships in Suva, Fiji. What normally would have started out as a simple day, turned out to be quite interesting.

Firstly, let’s start with the morning when I had to wait for 30 minutes for my office doors to be opened because I had forgotten to pack my passport.

When I arrive at the airport all the athletes have checked in. However, myself and the other officials could not because our bookings had been cancelled at the thirteenth hour because of some changes. We managed to rebook but one of our officials could not board on time. He will come tomorrow.

After that it has been smooth sailing all the way despite the rowdiness you get when you fill a room with teenagers.

We arrived at Nadi International Airport around 5:40pm (Fijian time) and after immigration checks and other final briefings boarded our coach at 6:45 for Suva.

PNG Karate team
PNG Karate team on arrival at Nadi International Airport.

The athletes will be staying at the Tanoa Plaza for the duration of the stay while I and other officials will stay at the Southern Cross Hotel just a block away.

Anyway, subscribe if you’d like to keep updated with the team and its vinaka from myself and the team in Suva.

A trip to the Western Highlands and Jiwaka

Today I post in my hotel room from Mt Hagen, Western Highlands. I’ve travelled to the higher grounds of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to collect data for the Office of Higher Education’s (OHE) Annual Survey of Institutes of Higher Education (ASIHE).

A fog covered morning
A fog covered morning

It has been an interesting experience so far and I’ve visited some institutes in breathtaking locations like the Christian Leaders’ Training College (CLTC) and Nazarene School of Nursing in Jiwaka and the Holy Trinity Teachers’ College; just a few minutes’ drive from Mt Hagen.

A vegetable garden.
A vegetable garden.

This is my first trip to the highlands region and I’m absolutely amazed with the scenery and the weather. In the evenings and mornings, fog covers the area and gives a mystical feel about the place. However, the scene gets even more amazing when drive away from the metallic and concrete feel of the urban centers.

Away from the urban chaos, it seems like God hid a piece of Paradise in the mountains of PNG. The vegetation is just green – a nice contrast to the brown of Port Moresby. You can also see vegetables being grown by locals beside the road, a testament to the quality of soil. It makes you wonder why so many flock to the cities.

A beautiful flower at the CLTC administration building.
A beautiful flower at the CLTC administration building.