Team Central to participate in 21 sports

first_imgCentral provincial sports coordinator, Henry Kavana, confirmed the sports include athletics, golf, karate, rugby league 9s, taekwondo, soccer, volleyball, weightlifting, netball and golf.Athletics has the biggest number of athletes with 48 (24 male and 24 female).He added that Team Central won’t participate in sports inlcuding hockey, AFL, softball and swimming.486 athletes and team officials will be travelling for Team Central.The PNG Games will run from March 18- April 1.last_img

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PNG U17 arrive in Tahiti for OFC Championships

first_imgPNG is pooled in Group A against hosts Tahiti, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.Their first clash will be against New Caledonia in the opening match of the competition on February 11.Head coach Harrison Kamake wants the team to move into camp in Tahiti focused on the competition.This follows their successful friendly lead up matches in New Zealand recently in preparation for the championship.They played three friendly matches while in New Zealand against Fiji U17 national team, Auckland Central Academy and Onehunga Mangere 2nd division team.They had a 2-0 win over Onehunga Mangere 2nd division team on Saturday.Kamake was ecstatic about the victory and said the team is now in competition mode and looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead of them.He said the three friendlies in New Zealand have lifted their spirits and are now focusing on the competition and what they are there to achieve.Kamake said it will be a bigger challenge in the competition and they should take the momentum of the positive result.(Picture courtesy of PNG Football Association)last_img read more

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Snax Tigers inspire students in Enga

first_imgThe Tigers arrived in the province on Thursday heading straight to the Wapenamanda Primary School for a stretching session.On Friday the Snax Tigers visited țwo primary schools in Wabag; Wabag primary followed by Par primary just outside Wabag town in the Ambum-Kompiam district.The Tigers team ran basic rugby skills sessions for the 2,500 students of Wabag primary, including ball security, defense and ball passing.They also presented five rugby balls to support the school’s rugby league development programs as well donated 50 cartons of Snax Noodle plus 10 cartons of Snax biscuits to the Wabag Primary School.At Par primary, the team was welcomed by students dressed in traditional regalia.They spoke to the 1,000-plus students on the importance of education as a prerequisite to a successful future, including playing rugby league.The team also promoted their new noodle product, the Snax Noodle.Today they will continue their community obligation by visiting a health facility in Enga.The Tigers are currently in the lead, heading into round 10 of the competition where they will meet the Mioks at Aipus Oval in Wabag.The Mioks are the runner up in last season’s grand final against the Goroka Lahanis and currently sit on the second last spot in the points ladder.(Pictures supplied by Tigers)last_img read more

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Bottas can turn it up to 11 in Spain

first_imgValtteri Bottas can add his name to one of Formula One’s longest sequences by following up his breakthrough win in Russia with another triumph when the European season starts in Spain this weekend.The Finn, fresh from his first grand prix victory with champions Mercedes in Russia, is the man most likely to become the 11th different winner in a row at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.No other track on the calendar has had such a variety of winners over the past decade, an ironic fact given that it is the most familiar to drivers from winter testing and was once famed for its predictability.Last year it was Dutch 18-year-old Max Verstappen who became the sport’s youngest winner when he triumphed for Red Bull, on his team debut, after both Mercedes drivers collided at the start.In 2012, it was now-departed Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado — a one-hit wonder — who handed Williams a surprise victory that remains their most recent.Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, 13 points behind the German, will start as favourites and success for either could be an omen given that both went on to take the title last time they won in Spain.But Bottas, who joined Mercedes from Williams in January as replacement for retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, is the best bet to continue the streak of different winners in Spain even if he has yet to finish higher than fourth there.“Getting that first win definitely gives me a lot of confidence that I can do it, even though I always knew I had the ability,” he said after Sochi.“And now it’s done, I just want to do it again and again.”RICCIARDO REVIVALThe only other driver from the leading trio of teams yet to triumph in Barcelona is Verstappen’s Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo, but the Red Bull has lagged Mercedes and Ferrari on pace so far this year.That will surely change, with the flow of upgrades set to speed up now that teams are closer to their factories, and Red Bull have some big chassis modifications in the pipeline with engine improvements still to come.“I hope the upgrade will give us a chance to really fight with Mercedes and Ferrari or at least get us closer,” said Ricciardo.The driver of car number 11, Force India’s Mexican Sergio Perez, has racked up 14 successive points finishes and he too will have aerodynamic updates on his car.Of the current crop, only Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and McLaren’s Fernando Alonso have won twice at the Barcelona circuit with their first victories in 2005 and 2006 respectively.Alonso will consider it a bonus to get as far as the starting grid on home soil, having failed to make it even that far in Sochi before his car broke down, in his last race before heading to the United States and the Indianapolis 500.“I’m not sure what we can expect from this weekend,” said the Spaniard. “We’re expecting some various new parts…but we can’t really focus too much on performance until we have solved our reliability issues.”The lap times will be closely scrutinised, with Barcelona a benchmark for the 2017 regulations that aimed to make the cars five seconds quicker, thanks to wider tyres and revised aerodynamics.There will also be more of a buzz in the paddock, with teams rolling out their ‘motorhomes’ — palatial multi-storeyed hospitality units — for the first time this season.last_img read more

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Bottas makes Hamilton settle for second in F1 finale

first_imgValtteri Bottas won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday as Mercedes wrapped up the Formula One season with a one-two finish and four-times world champion Lewis Hamilton had to settle for second.The win was a career third for the Finn, who had started on pole position at the Yas Marina circuit, and denied Hamilton a 10th of the campaign.“It’s a really important win for me after having a pretty difficult start to the second half of the year,” said Bottas, who joined Mercedes after 2016 champion Nico Rosberg retired abruptly a year ago.“This weekend, pole and win, I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this.”In a processional race under the floodlights, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took third place to finish runner-up in a championship that Hamilton won in Mexico last month.The final points tally was Hamilton 363, Vettel 317 and Bottas 305.Mercedes had already won the constructors’ world championship for the fourth year in a row and ended with 668 points to Ferrari’s 522. The one-two finish was their fourth of the season.“After three, four or five laps I couldn’t go any faster and from then it was pretty lonely,” said Vettel, a three-times winner in Abu Dhabi “In the second part of the race we had a stronger pace but not good enough.“Lewis deserves to win the championship this year. I hate to say it but he was the better man.”Hamilton kept Bottas in his sights but was also unable to pass. He said that was not because of a lack of intent or team orders.“Big congratulations to Valtteri, he did an amazing job to hold me off. It was a great race, I gave it everything. It is hard to overtake here,” he said.With the finishing order reflecting the starting positions, with the exception of Red Bull’s Australian Daniel Ricciardo who retired with an hydraulics issue, the main suspense was in midfield.Toro Rosso, Renault and Haas were separated by just six points before the start, with millions of dollars in prize money at stake and Renault taking the honours thanks to Nico Hulkenberg’s sixth place.It was still a tense evening for the French manufacturer team, however, after their Spanish driver Carlos Sainz was released from a pitstop with a loose wheel and retired after almost crashing in the exit tunnel.There was also an emotional send-off to Williams’s veteran Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, the 2008 world championship runner-up bowing out after 269 starts.last_img read more

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Awkward diplomacy on show as ‘peace’ Games begin

first_imgThe Winter Olympics sparked to life in a vivid, colourful ceremony of fire and ice in South Korea on Friday, though the diplomacy was tougher to choreograph in the stadium where leaders from nations that are sworn enemies sat close together.South Korea, which is using the Pyeongchang Games to break the ice with North Korea, seated its presidential couple alongside U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, with two of the North’s most senior officials sitting in the row behind.President Moon Jae-in, who wants to harness the Olympic spirit to pave the way for talks over the North’s weapons programme, warmly shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s smiling sister as well as the North’s nominal head of state.The South is still technically at war with the North after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, and the United States and North Korea have recently swapped nuclear threats. Pence vowed only this week to tighten sanctions on the North.Underlining Moon’s efforts to re-engage with the North, the opening ceremony followed the story line of children wandering through a mythical landscape and discovering a world where people live in peace and harmony.International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach told the crowd that by allowing their athletes to march together under one flag at the ceremony, North and South Korea had shown sport’s “unique power” to unite people.“All the athletes around me, all the spectators here in the stadium, and all Olympic fans watching around the world … we are all touched by this wonderful gesture,” he said.The Olympics have provided some respite from years of tense relations between Seoul and Pyongyang, though just hours before the ceremony hundreds of anti-North Korean protesters scuffled with riot police outside the stadium, burning North Korean flags and pictures of its leader, Kim Jong Un.South Korea’s frigid February, where temperatures have plummeted to minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) at night, has come as a shock to the system for athletes and visitors alike in the leadup to these Games, prompting concerns about hypothermia at the opening ceremony.The weather was a little milder than feared on Friday, but spectators still huddled near heaters, holding hot packs and slurping down steaming fishcake soup to ward off the chills.Bundled up in a scarf, mask and knitted hat, with hot packs tucked into her knee blanket, office worker Shin Hye-sook said she and her three colleagues were coping with the cold.“We’re sitting as close as we can and trying not to move a lot to save our energy,” said the 60-year-old.LONG WAIT FINALLY OVERPyeongchang has waited a long time for this moment.The alpine town first bid for the 2010 Games but narrowly lost out to Vancouver, and suffered similar heartbreak when it was beaten to the 2014 Olympics by Sochi.After announcing its arrival on the international stage by hosting the 1988 Seoul Olympics, South Korea now wants to show the world just how far it has come over the last 30 years with a Games showcasing its culture and technological prowess.According to Olympic tradition, the Greek contingent headed the parade of athletes into the open-air stadium, followed by the other delegations in order according to the Korean alphabet.Pence stood to welcome the U.S. athletes as the Korean pop hit Gangnam Style blared around the stadium, sparking the ‘Horse Dance’ in the crowd and among the volunteers.The moment failed to elicit even a smile from the two senior North Korean officials in the VIPs box, however, as they sat stony-faced in black fluffy hats and long coats.Elsewhere in the stadium, a Kim Jong Un impersonator was not made as welcome as the North Koreans in the VIP box and was ejected by security. “Well is my sister getting the same treatment?” he demanded to know.As the athletes made their way around the track, one of the biggest cheers was reserved for muscle-bound Tongan Pita Taufatofua, who repeated his famed Rio Games entrance by marching in shirtless, oiled up and wearing a traditional skirt — this time in sub-zero temperatures.Later, the crowd erupted as athletes from North and South Korea marched together under the unification flag for the first time at an Olympics since 2006.“It was incredible,” spectator Eim Young-joo said.North Korean cheerleaders greeted the athletes by waving a controversial version of the flag depicting disputed islands known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Norio Maruyama said he had not seen the flag so he did not want to comment.As the ceremony neared an end, the Olympic flame was carried by a succession of Korean sporting heroes including 2016 Rio Games golf champion Park In-bee and soccer player Ahn Jung-hwan, who scored the winning goal against Italy at the 2002 World Cup.It finally found its way to figure skating star Kim Yuna, who won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Games and silver in Sochi four years later.Kim, who travelled the world as a Games ambassador in the run-up to Pyeongchang, performed a short skating routine before sending flames shooting up to light the cauldron.last_img read more

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ITF chief Haggerty confident of ‘one-event’ solution for Davis Cup

first_imgInternational Tennis Federation (ITF) president David Haggerty is confident the revamped Davis Cup and the rival ATP Cup, unveiled last week in London, can eventually join forces to form one team competition.This weekend’s Davis Cup final between France and Croatia in Lille is the last one in the 118-year-old competition’s current home-and-away format with next year’s event to culminate in an 18-nation, World Cup-style showdown in Madrid in November.The new format, given the green light at the ITF’s conference in August, is being backed to the tune of $3 billion over 25 years by investment group Kosmos, headed by Barcelona soccer player Gerard Pique.It has come under fire from traditionalists, however, while leading players such as Germany’s ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev have said they are unwilling to play in late November, which is when next year’s first event will be staged.On top of that the ITF’s flagship competition is in danger of being overshadowed by the inaugural ATP Cup, a 24-nation team event to be played in January 2020 in three Australian cities, six weeks after the Davis Cup’s finals week.World number one Novak Djokovic, who was part of the launch of the ATP Cup, said last week there was a danger of “two average events” if they were held in such close proximity.Haggerty sounded an optimistic note on Saturday, however, saying “fruitful talks” had taken place with the various stakeholders to work “towards the greater good of the game”.“We had very productive meetings in London with the ATP, Kosmos, the ITF, the Grand Slams and the players to talk about what is the best thing to do for tennis,” Haggerty told Reuters inside Lille’s Stade Pierre Mauroy where France and Croatia are contesting the last Davis Cup final in the current format.“We talked about two different things. We know that at the heart of the problem is the calendar; no one owns the calendar. We are all responsible for making sure the players have a flow throughout the season, so they can start and finish strong.“Then we also spoke about the possibility of having one event that we could all participate in together. Is there a way down the road to collaborate and work together?“A lot of things need to happen to get us there but I can say it was the most productive meeting we have ever had. We will meet again in January to continue the dialogue.”The new format will see a qualifying round using the existing home-and-away format in February then 12 nations will join this year’s semi-finalists and two wildcards in Madrid for the new week-long World Cup-style event in November.Despite some initial negativity about the changes to such a tennis institution, Haggerty said it was not something that was keeping him up at night.“It’s changed three times before,” Haggerty said. “Tennis tends to be traditional and for some people change is difficult.“There is so much to honour for the Davis Cup but as we start a new chapter we are excited about where we can go.”last_img read more

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Verstappen on pole for Brazilian Grand Prix

first_imgMax Verstappen sealed pole position at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Saturday and served it up to a delighted Red Bull team principal Christian Horner as a 46th birthday present.The pole was the second of the Dutch 22-year-old’s Formula One career and the first in Brazil for engine partners Honda since the late triple champion Ayrton Senna in 1991 with McLaren.“The car was on fire and I hope that was a nice birthday present, Christian,” Verstappen said over the team radio after clocking a best lap around Interlagos of one minute 07.508 seconds.“That was the best birthday present you could have given me. Well done. Brilliant in all three sessions. So thank you very much for that,” replied Horner.Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel joined Verstappen on the front row, a tenth of a second off the pole time, for what will be his 100th start for the Italian team after winning four championships with Red Bull.“I had a bit of a wobble at the exit of the last corner on the first run but I think Max improved his time, so fair play. I think it’s his pole position,” said Vettel.“I think both Red Bull and Mercedes look a bit stronger managing tyres but we’ve got the speed and we’ve got the power,” added the German.Lewis Hamilton, who clinched his sixth world championship in Texas two weeks ago and was quickest in final practice, will line up third for Mercedes with team mate Valtteri Bottas alongside.“We’ve been down on power, I guess, compared to the others particularly, that’s where we lose most of our time,” said Hamilton. “But I gave it absolutely everything I had and I’m glad at the end.”Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc qualified in fourth place but drops 10 places due to an engine change.With both championships won by Mercedes for an unprecedented sixth year in a row, Sunday’s penultimate race of the season is likely to focus on the battle to be best of the rest.Leclerc is third overall and leads Verstappen by 14 points, with Vettel a further five adrift.For Red Bull there is also unfinished business after Verstappen missed out on victory in Brazil last year when he tangled with backmarker Esteban Ocon while leading.“I’ll try to finish it off now,” promised Verstappen.There is every chance of the youngster making amends on Sunday, with the winner in Brazil starting on pole position in five of the last six races there.Verstappen, however, failed to convert his previous pole, in Hungary last August, into victory with Hamilton going on to celebrate instead.Red Bull’s Alexander Albon will start in fifth place with Pierre Gasly, the French driver he replaced earlier in the season, alongside for Toro Rosso.Haas enjoyed their best qualifying since the Spanish Grand Prix in May with Romain Grosjean lining up seventh and Kevin Magnussen ninth.Kimi Raikkonen qualified eighth, after Leclerc’s demotion, for Alfa Romeo at the circuit where he won the 2007 world championship while McLaren’s British rookie Lando Norris rounded out the top 10.Norris’s Spanish team mate Carlos Sainz failed to set a time after an engine problem in the first phase of qualifying.“Something went, something on the engine,” he reported.last_img read more

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