swimmer Ryan Pini bagged our second 18 years later in 2006.
Now eight years
on Papua New Guinea celebrates again not one but two Commonwealth gold
medals courtesy of weightlifters Dika Toua and Steven Kari.
We can say now
that sports in PNG, with world class infrastructure heralding the arrival of the
2015 Pacific Games, has come of age.
PNG finished 16th in Glasgow and was
the highest ranked Pacific Island nation.
In rugby league a PNG team is on
the cusp of something special.
The Hunters enter the last three matches of
their season with Ipswich Jets, Wynnum Manly Seagulls and the South Logan
Magpies with a realistic chance of making the finals in their debut season in
the Queensland Cup.
It has taken Hunters coach Michael Marum and his staff
six months to saddle in the best local talent PNG had to offer.
These 23 men
were turned from Digicel Cup level players to a Queensland Cup quality team.
They have had to contend with a range of new experiences including regular
travel, time away from family, new diets, a new training regime (video sessions,
recovery sessions, pool work, gym work).
The Hunters have had highs and lows;
they have been praised and pilloried by their biggest critics and who are their
biggest fans - the people of PNG.
The Hunters have three years to be
considered NRL material yet only in their first year they have produced a top
try-scorer and individual talent that some say is potential NRL
Toua and Kari have captured the public’s imagination and proven
that Papua New Guineans are ready to take their place among the world’s
The Hunters are the next group that can continue that trend.