PNG Swimmers receive Scholarships

Liz Wells reports: It was with great delight that Papua New Guinea Swimming Inc was informed through PNGSFOC Secretary General Auvita Rapilla that Dennis Miller Executive Director, Oceania National Olympic Committees had announced that two swimmers from Papua New Guinea were being looked at to receive a scholarship each at Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge which promotes intellectual discovery, physical development, social and ethical awareness, and economic opportunities for all through an education that transforms lives, strengthens community, and inspires progress. The two swimmers are 19 year olds Ian Nakmai and Judith Meauri.  “PNGSFOC are very proud and it is a great privilege to have two of our elite swimmers being given scholarships to continue their training and schooling in the USA for the next two years,” said Auvita.
 
“This is a new opportunity for talented student athletes from the region, and while the initial offer may be considered somewhat limited in terms of numbers and NOCs involved, I believe that there is potential for further development in the years to come – as has been shown with the Tennis Scholarships program,” said Dennis Miller, Executive Director, Oceania National Olympic Committees.
 
For some time now ONOC through Dan O’Connell, ITF Regional Development Officer has been researching possibilities for sports scholarships in the USA for promising Pacific Island students in various sports.

As a result of a trip to the USA late last year (2010), Dan was able to secure scholarship offers from the Iowa Central Community College in Swimming, Track & Field and Football, as well as continuing Tennis Scholarships at the New Mexico Military Institute.  Dan has been running a successful scholarship program for tennis players who graduate from the Regional Tennis Centre in Lautoka, Fiji for many years.
 
At the close of April 2011 the Athletics Director of Iowa Central Community College Mr. Dee Brown and Dan O’Connell visited Papua New Guinea from April 24-27th to meet the athletes and discuss the scholarship and, what is expected of them during the two years away both in school and in the pool.
 
"As coordinator of the new Pacific program to find USA junior college sports scholarship for deserving student/athletes, I am delighted Iowa Central Community College has offered swim scholarships to Ian and Judith.  I congratulate Ian and Judith for gaining these scholarships.  Let's hope this is just the beginning, with many more PNG swimmers gaining similar scholarships.  For young PNG swimmers my advice is if Ian and Judith can gain these scholarships -- so can you!  I am impressed and inspired by three decades of effort Liz Wells has made for PNG swimming.  As coach of Ian and Judith for many years, I felt very happy for Liz and also for the proud parents." Dan O’Connell.
 
 “We are thrilled to be offering scholarships to two of the best swimmers in PNG who have completed and graduated year 12. Not only are we excited for Ian, Judith and Iowa Central but for the opportunities this may provide to future swimmers and athletes from Oceania,” said Dee Brown.

The opportunity to participate in a top-notch swim program under the head swim Coach Jake Anderson at Iowa Central College will be amazing for our two athletes.  The program includes: a training trip to south Florida over winter break, full weight room with a brand new fitness centre on campus, full-time athletic trainer, apartment style living complexes, available work study, academic advisor for swimming, exposure to 4-year coaches, trip to the NJCAA swimming nationals in San Antonio, Texas, committed coaches that stress academics as well as athletics.
 
The two scholarships are being funded by Iowa Central Community College and ONOC. 




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