By James Cowling, Games New Service
PORT MORESBY July 5 – For the first time in a major international competition, Ryan Pini (PNG) will be competing at home when takes to the pool at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games.
Pini is a three-time Olympian having competed in London 2012, Beijing 2008 and Athens 2004.
In Bejing 2008, he became the first Papua New Guinean to reach an Olympic final and the 33-year-old is one of PNG’s most successful ever athletes.
Pini won a gold medal at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games in the men’s 100m butterfly and at the Noumea 2011 Pacific Games won seven gold and two silver medals.
In the twilight of his career, he will be vying for another golden haul from his 12 events in Port Moresby.
His main competition will come from Rainui Terupaia (TAH), who won three gold medals at Noumea 2011 and is entered in 22 events in Port Moresby.
In the women’s events, all eyes will again be on 23-year-old Lara Grangeon from New Caledonia who won an incredible record haul of 16 gold medals at Noumea 2011, and 20 medals in total.
The only good news for her competitors in Port Moresby would seem to be she is only entered in 13 events.
Thirty-five-year-old Caroline Puamau from Fiji has entered 11 events at Port Moresby 2015 and holds an interesting record.
Puamau, a two-time Olympian, is the only non-New Caledonian woman to win a swimming gold medal in the past two Pacific Games, and one of only four to have won titles at the last three editions. The now 35-year-old won 50m and 100m freestyle gold medals at both Suva 2003 and Apia 2007.
In Port Moresby, 46 gold medals in all will be contested across men’s, women’s and two mixed relay events in the pool, as well as two open water races.
There will be seven days of competition starting on Monday July 6 at the BSP Arena. The open water swimming competition will be held on Sunday July 12 at Loloata.
For information about weightlifting tickets call the Pacific Games ticket hotline on 180 2015 or download the ticket purchasing guide.