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PNGSF assists junior tennis star as preparations commence for 2027 Pacific Games

Updated: Jan 17

Colita’s family with PNG Sports Foundation CEO Albert Veratau.

(L-R) Diana Hakena; Hebrews-Bubiang Hakene; Sugar-Ray Hakena; River-Jordan Hakena

Papua New Guinea Sports Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Albert Veratau, has pledged K20,000 to assist PNG junior women’s tennis star, Colita Hakena, as she embarks on a new tennis training scholarship at the world-class Lavie Tennis Academy in New Zealand.


CEO Veratau met the family after sighting a news article on their appeal for financial support to settle the parental component of US$5,000 before 15th January. The inaugural scholarship from Oceania Tennis Federation and International Tennis Federation (OTF/ITF) is valued at over US$50,000 and offers training and educational support to Oceania’s highest ranked players to compete in some of the toughest junior tennis competitions in the world.


PNGSF’s timely assistance ensures Colita will attend the highly intensive training program with the chance to compete in the Junior Grand Slam Championship tours, secure a US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) scholarship, and ultimately represent PNG in the Oceania Team at the Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup, respectively.


While Colita is currently competing in Australia, her mother, Diana Hasavi, expressed gratitude to the PNG Government and PNG Sports Foundation for the support, stating that this sponsorship highlighted their belief, through CEO Albert Veratau, in her daughter’s potential and their commitment to investing in the development of athletes and nurturing upcoming talents for international success.


Mr. Veratau congratulated Colita on her outstanding international achievements so far, which include, among many, the U12 and U14 junior women’s Pacific champion crowns in 2022 and 2023 respectively, and U14 runner-up in the 2023 New Zealand Championships, where she now ranks top 10.


Mr. Veratau noted that her current timeline was a good build up towards the 2027 Pacific Games in Tahiti when she will be 18-years-old.


He said PNGSF was now investing time and money in PNG’s gold medal prospects in preparation for the Pacific Games and other major upcoming events, adding that utilising development pathways and sports scholarships abroad formed the global component of the 'Go Rural to Go Global' (GRtGG) strategy, which PNGSF has embarked on since last year and will roll out in 2024.


“The annual remittance to be generated from PNG sportsmen and women playing professionally or semi-professionally overseas will be PNGSF and sports’ contribution to Prime Minister James Marape’s vision of creating a K200 billion economy in 10 years’ time," Veratau said.


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