In a year that has already seen two female MP’s voted in, with a third possible one in the Eastern Highlands, Toea Wisil’s Olympic Qualifying effort is another epic achievement for PNG.
Of course I must also congratulate the 7 other PNG athletes at the 2012 London Olympics. They are our:
- Commonwealth gold medallist Ryan Pini,
- pocket dynamo Dika Toua ranked 14th in the World for womens 53kg weightlifting,
- 20 year old 50m freestyle swimmer Judith Meauri,
- mens 66kg Judo expert Raymond Ovinou,
- women’s 49kg Taekwondo tactician Theresa Tona,
- mens 400m sprinter Nelson Stone, and
- young 19 year old 85kg weight lifter Steven Kari who at such a young age is ranked 15th in the world.
But obviously it is our hope that with an improving economy we can begin putting more money into our athletes so we at least have more athletes as opposed to officials going to Olympic games. Ryan Pini is a perfect example of how his family has spent their own money over more than 15 years to train Pini in Australia, simply because we lack the facilities here in PNG. Dika Toua has in the past trained in Fiji and Toea Wisil has been training on the Gold Coast in Australia.
True it is a long and slow investment, but everyone remembers how it felt when Ryan Pini beat Australian Michael Klim in the Men’s 100 m Butterfly at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. It’s Gold Medal personal achievements like that, that lift a nation’s patriotism to levels that make every Kina invested worth it.
Sad to say even I didn’t know who Toea Wisil was several weeks ago because all we see is the end result and not all the hard work that goes in beforehand. It’s even more shameful to admit despite Toea Wisil being PNG Sportswoman Of The Year for 2010 and 2011, I still didn’t know who she was.
So Toea if you’re reading this and all the other athletes in and out of PNG, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for giving your everything to achieve your dreams and sorry we only join you at the party after you win.
For a long time now we have placed allot of pressure on Ryan Pini to bring us a gold medal at an Olympic event, but maybe Toea Wisil’s achievements can illustrate that we have more opportunities now for winning gold medals in addition to Ryan Pini.
The 100m sprint is perhaps one of the worlds most watched races at an Olympic event and for the women’s 100m, note that Toea Wisil missed out on the Semi-Finals because she didn’t come in first, second or third in her heat. Yet despite not getting a placing, her time at 11.27 was faster than 3 women who qualified, namely; Michelle-Lee Ahye (11.28, Trinidad & Tobago), Olga Bludova (11.31 Kazakhstan) and Sheniqua Ferguson (11.35 Bahamas). What’s more frustrating is when these 3 women ran in the Semi Finals, none of them ran faster than 11.31.
But the rules only recognise placings in the heats yet despite these frustrating facts we can be rest assured that she is only getting better. Her Personal Best of 11.49 earlier this year dropped to 11.27 yesterday. In other words you could more or less say that she is pretty much 1 second away from making it into an Olympic Final.
Her performance at the London Olympics must come as no surprise to her trainers, friends and family. She has been collecting a treasure chest of awards around the world and region like 2 Gold Medals at the 2012 Queensland State Championships and a Silver Medal at the 2012 Australian Championships in Melbourne. So I’d say that sponsors and our government can definitely put their money where their mouth is and back her up and her fellow athletes as they prepare for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, UK.
In a country where men have dominated the lime light for so long it’s refreshing to see female leaders in sport or politics rising from our communities. We all need our heroes when times are tough and things look bleak and I for one look forward to this country being lifted by a Super Woman in 2014.