PNG Mens team - Gold, Silver & Bronze
July 1, 2016 @ 13:40 UTC
The Papua New Guinea (PNG) SP Sports Awards is the recognition of sporting achievement in the country.
Thirty-three contestants were vying the awards in various categories; including sportsman and woman, sports community initiative, sports administrators, sports team and many others.
The top awards are for the Athlete of the Year, Team of the Year, Junior Male and Female Team of the Year, Junior Male and Female Athlete of the Year, Community Sports Initiative, Sports Administration, Sports Board of the Year and People’s Choice Awards.
Touch is one sport in PNG that has a relatively limited but very proud history in Touch Football. 2015 saw the mens and womens teams compete in two major international events. The Touch World Cup and the Pacific Games. The mens team was listed as one of three finalists in the Team of the Year category.
The PNG Mens team finished with a Bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup hosted in Australia and became the number one nation in the Pacific. Starting the tournament with only 11 players, they were challenged by the best European teams of England and France. Needing to defeat Fiji in the last round game to make the finals proved the turning point for the team. They went on to defeat South Africa 8 – 7 and win the Bronze medal.
The team then played in the 2015 Pacific Games and we undefeated, winning the Gold medal against Samoa. Over six games the team, scored an impressive 102 touch downs, letting in 12, the nearest rival was Samoa which scored 75. Again the winning score was 8-7 in favour of PNG.
Apart from training camps in PNG and lead-up games in Australia, the team has never had any world ranking before taking part in the World Cup last year.
The PNG Men’s Touch team was hopeful to be recognised as the PNG Team of the Year at the Awards. However being named in the final three nominees for the Team of the year category along with Womens Football and the Womans Va'a V12 Team was an achievement in itself.
In the end the Womans Va'a V12 team won the award for team of the year.
So the PNG mens Touch team finished the year with a Gold and Bronze at competition and a silver for the Awards. It just shows what a group of dedicated young men all resident in PNG can achieve when they are given the right training tools and opportunities.
Well done to the PNG Mens Touch Team.