MOROBE Province topped the medals leader board in the Bank of the South Pacific Papua New Guinea Games 2014, in what was said to be the largest sporting event in PNG since 1991.
Finishing up on 29 November, Morobe Province won a total of 107 medals, 45 of them gold, just beating the Central Province, with 112 medals – 43 of them gold.
Rounding out the leaderboard was the National Capital District, with 37 gold medals, Bougainville, with 26, the Eastern Highlands with 14 and East New Britain with 13 gold.
The Games provide PNG athletes with an opportunity to showcase their abilities across 28 sports, including Athletics, Australian Rules Football, Basketball, Boxing, Cricket, Darts, Karate, Bodybuilding, Kickboxing, Rugby League (Nines), Rugby Union (Sevens), Squash and Va’a Canoeing.
Kicking off on November 16 and running for two weeks, the games brought more than 9,000 participants from 22 provinces to Lae, the capital of Morobe Province, and its 19 sporting venues.
The event is expected to leave a legacy of infrastructure for Lae City, with major improvements to local infrastructure and facilities completed ahead of the Games opening ceremony.
These included refurbishments to the main Sir Ignatius Kilage Outdoor, Indoor and Swimming Stadium, funded by the government through the PNG Sports Foundation.
The opening ceremony was also attended by PNG sprinter Toea Wisil, the first Papua New Guinean to hold an Australian national track title when she claimed the 100 metres in Sydney in 2013.
Ms Wisil was first recognised as a talented sprinter at the 2003 PNG Games, having since represented PNG at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
First developed by the PNG Sports Foundation in 2003, the event is held every two years, its role is to promote and develop national unity and provincial pride through participation in sports.
Bank of South Pacific was this year’s naming rights sponsor after contributing K750,000 to the event.