Many of us in Papua New Guinea are so passionate about sport. For a country that’s divided by so many cultures and traditions, sport is seen as an uniting factor and over the years, fantastic sporting achievements at the international level has brought is Papua New Guineans together.
What are your 8 best sporting moments for Papua New Guineans? You know those moments when you can clearly hear the chants of “PNG”, “PNG”, “PNG”!
In no particular order, we’ve come up with 10 of those memorable moments that have made us proud to be Papua New Guineans. Obviously, you’ll have your own for various reasons but these are the ones that we’ve come up with. Add yours on the comments panel below.
Geua (Vada) Tau
It was in 1990 when Hanuabadan Tau stunned the bowling world winning Gold medal in the singles at the Auckland Commonwealth Games without losing a game. You can imagine just how crazy Papua New Guineans went on hearing the news that Tau had just won the country’s first ever Commonwealth Games Gold Medal.
Martin Beni is believed to have put PNG on the map 12 months before the country became an independent state. Then Chief Minister Michael Somare who eventually became the country’s first Prime Minister shelved his plans and drove the short distance to Port Moresby’s Sir Hubert Murray stadium to see PNG’s boxing hero Beni contest an international bout. The 23-year-old motor mechanic from Waima village matched against Colin Cassidy, the Australian lightweight champion. Cassidy won the bout but Beni won the hearts of a country that was 12 months from being an independent nation.
Steven Kari Commonwealth Gold
Steven Kari is on his way to be inducted in the country’s sporting hall of fame. Winning gold weightlifting at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow reminded us of Geua Tau’s heroics in Auckland. What’s even more heroic is not only the fact that he successfully defended the gold at this year’s Gold Coast Games, he did it in unthinkable fashion by lifting 6kgs more than his personal best and a new Commonwealth Games record. Check out this video-
— ELVIX 🎧🎤 (@Muntika_Elvix) April 9, 2018
Ryan Pini Gold Commonwealth
Competitive swimming is foreign to PNG and as you know it’s really the big countries like Australia, US, UK, South Africa and other European countries that make the waves in the pool. But Ryan Pini’s gold medal in the 100m butterfly at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia edging out favorite Michael Klim. Pini has been a regular participant in top class swimming meets and he is also the first PNG swimmer ever to reach an Olympic final.
PNG defeated Kiwis
Rugby League is Papua New Guinea’s national sport. Despite the parochial support from mad league fans, the national team hasn’t reached much success at the international level. But those around in the 80’s will clearly remember the day the Kumuls edged the Kiwis on home soil 24-22. Porebada lad and reknown sidestep machine Dairi Kovae was the star in that match stepping his way to score the final try minutes before full time.
Tumat Sogolik put on his gloves for his country and competed in boxing in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Canada. From the beautiful Tsoi Island in New Ireland Province, Sogolik was believed to have won the gold but the judges thought otherwise. So inspirational was his performances, even the Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit at his hotel room after the bout to congratulate him on his courageous performance.
Dika Toua is undoubtedly PNG’s most successful female athlete. Perhaps the most memorable moment for Toua was her inclusion in the Sydney 2000 Olympics where she was the first woman ever to lift weight at the Olympic Games, competing in the 48 kg category. Dika has gone on to win gold in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and more recently Silver at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
They’ve come a long way the PNG Hunters. But winning the Intrust Cup last season was definitely a memorable moment for the Port Moresby based team.