TRAVEL JOURNAL: LAURA KETSANA

Team Bougainville u18 sprinter for Air PNG National Athletics Championships

It was on a Wednesday, my PE teacher told me that I was one of the selected students who will be taking part in the National Athletics Championship in Kimbe. I was very surprised and excited. I couldn’t believe that I was selected. I was so happy because it would be my first time travelling to Kimbe and the first time I will be taking part in such a major competition.

On Thursday, we travelled to Hoskins airport where we received a wonderful surprise, Toea Wisil (Papua New Guinean Female Sprinter, and Pacific Games Gold Medallist) welcomed the team at the airport. We were so excited to see her, took some photos with the superstar before travelling to our accommodation.

The journey from the airport to our accommodation was slow, as the road was rough, and the bus was driving slow, but that is all part of the experience! Once we arrived and unpacked, I started to feel nervous about my upcoming races.

The next day, we attended the opening of the games. The heats started straight after, and we stayed to support one of our team members, who ran the 800m. On Saturday, I started feeling even more nervous. I wore my Bougainville shirt and pinned my race number on my shirt before starting my warm ups. I ran in the 100m and 200m sprints. I was over the moon with my performance as I was competing alongside the PNG NSI National Athletics team. I didn’t receive any medals, but the opportunity to compete at a national level has motivated me to train harder so that I can improve for the next competition.

On Monday morning, we missed our flight and were all quite disappointed because we were looking forward to going home. However, the flight path had been rescheduled, and we found out we were to fly back to Arawa via Port Moresby. That made me so happy, I screamed at the top of my voice. To have the opportunity to fly to Kimbe and compete, then flying and exploring Port Moresby is an experience that I will never forget.

The team at BCL went above and beyond to make us feel welcome in Port Moresby, showing us around the city.

Thank you BCL for funding our participation in Kimbe and the trip to Port Moresby. It was a dream come true.