How exactly PNG is going to take advantage of its natural sporting talents is a question that requires far reaching discussion, dialogue and investment.
Administrators of sports in PNG will attest to what is one of the most difficult task and responsibilities in harnessing and development of the country’s best talents at any one time.
Firstly there is no legislated blue print of how to develop sports in the country and the level or amount of resources that is required to finance the sector.
Right now sports are administered on a completely ad hoc basis culminating in the come what may or just do it culture.
Sports is not factored prominently in annual budgets nor it is pursued as serious stated government policy.
Only the private and corporate sectors remain the champions in promoting this nation building factor.
The point here is based on the latest world ratings achievement by PNG’s only and ever international professional female tennis player in Abigail Tere-Apisah winning the International Tennis Federation US$325,000 title at the Kailang Squash and Tennis Centre in Singapore on Sunday.
This was no easy feat as she had to struggle and compete against the world’s best but she went through beating all her opponents from the world’s top tennis playing nations to achieve her goal.
And this was her first professional achievement as a Papua New Guinean in which the country is utterly proud of and will always stand by her as she defends the title.
Tennis is a cut-throat game in that if you slip up your ratings follow suit even with a single loss or a draw.
It is a million dollar business and anyone for that matter must have the same commitment, discipline and talent to be counted among the world’s best.
The statistics posted worldwide on her incredible performance are absolutely astonishing and made it look like a walk in the park in certain games apart from the ones that she had to fight for.
She has been and will be defending her gold medal title in July’s South Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
That is both in the singles and doubles and of course PNG is counting on her international experience to defend the titles on behalf of her eight million citizens who always barrack for the champions anytime and anywhere.
What she brings to light is the knowledge that there are incredible talented athletes of sorts in the country that go unnoticed all the time.
The country must set up a concentrated talent scouting identification program in all sports on a professional basis.
In turn sports academies must be established under the country’s public investment programs in order to make it an industry on its own for the sake of integral development in the country.
Sports at the moment are administered on an ad hoc basis and are not priority to the government of the day despite its crucial social and psychological benefits.
Time and again sports has proven its potency in nation building beginning from when PNG first won its international gold, silver and bronze medals overseas in the past.
This is where the harnessing of patriotism and nationalism must also start in order to keep its unity and nationhood intact instead of divisive politics.