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PNG was accorded National Olympic Committee status in 1974 allowing Team PNG to participate in its first Olympics at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada. Since then we have participated in all Olympic Games to date, with the exception of the 1980 Summer Olympics when we joined in the American-led boycott of those games. We have yet to take part in the Winter Olympic Games but there is nothing stopping Papua New Guinea from one day participating in the colder version of the Olympics should the aspiration exist.
The Olympic Games are the epitome of sporting competitions. They bring to together the world, through love of sport. The Olympic motto of “Faster, Higher, and Stronger” captures the determination of athletes from around the world as they strive to achieve their dreams in front of a global audience. Ever since the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Papua New Guinean athletes have joined their counterparts in pursuit of Olympic glory. With his achievement of reaching the final of the men’s 100 meter butterfly swimming event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Ryan Pini is our most successful Olympian. Although we are yet to win an Olympic medal, the following Papua New Guinean Olympians have shown that PNG is capable of competing at the highest level:
Papua New Guinea’s Olympic experience has not been limited only to participating at the Summer Olympics. In 2000, the Olympic Games were held in Sydney, Australia and PNG was fortunate to have been part of the Olympic Torch Relay enroute to the host country down under. The torch visited PNG in May with the occasion showcasing once again ournational pride and unity to aworldwide audience. Over one hundred different runners representing a cross-section of society and our various provinces carried the ﬂame, mostly through the streets of the capital, Port Moresby. Along the way, famous sporting heroes, politicians and other notable Papua New Guineans ran with the torch until it was finally handed over to the then Prime Minister Sir MekereMorauta, who before a packed crowd at the Sir John Guise Stadium lit a cauldron presented to PNG by the Sydney Olympic Games Organizing Committee.
With a similar concept to the Olympic Games, although administered by an independent body, the Paralympic Games are held every four years following the Olympics and provide an opportunity for elite athletes with disabilities to compete on the world stage. Under the auspices of PNGOC, Papua New Guinea first competed at the Paralympic Games in 1984, sending a delegation of four athletes to compete in track and field. We then missed out on three consecutive Games before returning in 2000, with two athletes in track and field and one in powerlifting. In 2004 the PNG National Paralympic Committee was established to oversee PNG’s preparation and participation in the
Paralympic Games. Papua New Guinea did not participate in 2004, and returned for its third competition in 2008 at Beijing. It was here that PNG witnessed the amazing efforts of Francis Kompaon as he won our first ever Paralympic medal when he took silver in the 100 metre sprint, T46 category finishing just 0.05 seconds behind gold medal winner Heath Francis, of Australia.