As a sign of two countries’ shared passion for sport, the Australian Defence Force is delivering a sports officials program in Papua New Guinea.
CAPTION: Local participants form a huddle during an ADF Sports training program at the Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Story by Squadron Leader Amanda Scott. Photo by Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall.
The program, which kicked off on July 24 and runs until July 28 in Port Moresby, Lae and Madang, includes the delivery of level-one coaching, umpiring, strength and conditioning, first aid and wellbeing, as well as the gifting of a range of equipment to local sporting groups.
The training program will build capacity in Australian rules football, rugby league, netball, rugby union and basketball, and help local competitions attract qualified players and ex-players into sporting officials’ roles.
The program builds on lessons learnt from virtual training activities held during COVID-19 that have already had significant influence in the region.
CAPTION: Warrant Officer Class One Jorja Jones coaches members during an ADF Sports training program at the Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall.
Group Captain Jay Clarke, who is part of the ADF team managing the program, said more than 300 coaches and referees would be accredited, meaning they could guide their local communities around the islands in the different sports.
“The team will deliver level-one coaching and refereeing courses which are recognised internationally, offering a great path to being able to one day coach or referee for PNG,” he said.
“We have certainly seen a lot of talent. This means the participants we taught can now coach or referee in other parts of the world.”
Group Captain Clarke said the course was well received by locals.
“I think they really love being involved and certainly loved receiving their t-shirts with coach or referee printed on the back,” he said.
Hacy Abel participated in the coaching course for netball and said she got much more out of the course than just coaching skills.
“I had so much fun, made new friends, networked and experienced a different level of coaching that I’m not used to,” Ms Abel said.
“We got to think more strategically and learn how to properly plan a lesson. It was good, and very empowering.
“Netball is the biggest sport for women in PNG and we are also seeing more men join.
“Sport is important in PNG, it helps develop character, it’s good for young people, it keeps them occupied.
“I’ll be able to use what I have learned to teach others in my local community and encourage more people to get involved in not just playing sport but taking on an official role. I think it makes our communities stronger.”