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Local Kairuku Athletics Club seek sponsorship.

An athletics club made up of bare-footed kids clad in old clothes yet full of vibrance, energy and laughter stood out as odds among the straight clean shirts, long socks and branded shoes athletes on the tracks of Sir John Guise outdoor Stadium on Saturday 27th of May. These athletes were from the Histars Athletics Club from Hisiu Village, located in Kairiku District, Central Province, which is approximately 80 miles from the Nation’s Capital.

The Club is led by former athlete Francis Aihi and has ten runners from the ages of 13- 18 at the moment. The coach, trainer and team manager Francis Aihi, says the team has a lot of potential and needs sponsors to fund Running shoes and gears.

“It would be really good to see sponsors supporting our team. At least to see the athletes own running shoes because the tracks are hard and can cause blisters to the sole of their feet. These are very good athletes who score personal best scores every time”

At the moment, half of the team do not own runners and wear socks to protect their feet.

The Coach adds that his team are really dedicated as they train every afternoon at their village.

The club’s determination, courage and commitment to athletics is admirable and shows as they not only compete on tracks, but for spaces on the PMV truck at 2am in the morning just to travel to Port Moresby.

The team usually leaves Hisiu village at 3am every Saturday.

Aihi explains that he wakes his team at 2am in the morning, so they would secure a space on the truck that would leave for Port Moresby.

“My athletes usually leave their houses at 12am and sleep on the PMV truck because they have to secure seats before the mothers that are headed for the market fill up the truck. By 3am, the truck departs and we arrive by 6am and head straight for the tracks of Sir John Guise stadium”

The coach adds that the club try to support themselves though fundraising but that covers for their bus fare. The food and gate fees are usually provided and paid for by the athletes themselves.

Furthermore, he added that despite the struggles of bringing the Athletes over, he wants to keep supporting his athletes for most of them come from broken homes and he would like to help them make their dreams come true.

“Most of These kids come from a broken home, where the fathers walk out on them and they are taken care of by the mother.”

Given the kids background, it gives me more motivation to help them anyhow I can, says Aihi.

“There are more opportunities in the form of scholarships these days than there were back in the days and I want these kids to be exposed so hopefully one or two lands a scholarship.”

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