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By Michael Houston Monday, 2 August 2021
The Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) is celebrating 60 years since its formation today, and preparing for official festivities later this year to mark the occasion.
An official event is set to be organised later in the year after the nation’s Independence Day on September 16, as the PNGOC continues to focus on the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The organisation was started in 1961 and Sir John Dawanincura became the first official employee in 1984, eight years after representing Papua New Guinea as a staff member at the Montreal 1976 Olympics.
There are 17 permanent employees at the PNGOC today.
The PNGOC has been a member of the Pacific Games Council and Commonwealth Games Federation since 1962, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 1974.
PNGOC President Sir John said the nation should feel a lot of pride over what had happened in the past six decades.
“As we look back on our impressive history over the last 60 years, we know we have so much to be proud of and so many reasons to celebrate this milestone,” Sir John said.
“In the six decades, the membership has grown from a few sports to 40 affiliated National Federations today.
“This period has also witnessed Papua New Guinea with representation at 11 Olympic Games, 14 Commonwealth Games, 16 Pacific Games, nine Mini Pacific Games, four Youth Olympic Games and four Commonwealth Youth Games.
“The highlight of these would have been the hosting of three Pacific Games, with the recent 2015 Games in Port Moresby being the most spectacular and memorable.
“The hosting of these Games also capitulated the country forward in the development and establishment of sports facilities and structures on par with the region.”
Other key milestones mentioned included the opening of PNG Olympic Haus in 2019, which was officially inaugurated by IOC President Thomas Bach in the same year.
Sir John also mentioned the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the PNGOC and Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation which was witnessed by Bach and former Prime Minister Peter O’Neil.
The PNGOC recently launched its new Strategic Direction 2021-2024 and a performance strategy covering the Olympic cycle up to Paris 2024.
Papua New Guinea is yet to win a medal at the Olympic Games, but sent eight athletes to Tokyo 2020.