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Stubbings and Padio, Team PNG Flag Bearers for Sol2023 Papua New Guinea

Updated: Apr 30

Photo Courtesy: Team PNG Media

Tennis ace, Mathew Stubbings and champion woman footballer, Ramona Padio are the Flag Bearers for Team PNG to the XVII Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands this month (November).

The duo will lead the team into the National Stadium on 19th November during the Opening Ceremony of the Games. The PNG Olympic Committee made the announcement on Friday, 10th November in Port Moresby during the Team PNG Farewell ceremony.

“We are blessed to have such a wide and diverse set of athletes, ranging in experience from those seasoned Games veterans to our new and next generation’s Team PNG athletes,” said Sir John Dawanincura, President of the PNG Olympic Committee.

“Being the Team PNG Flag Bearer is a unique responsibility that places you in an elite and distinguished class with those who elegantly carried the flag and its responsibilities before you,” he said.

Stubbings has attended two Pacific Games and one Commonwealth Youth Games. He represented Papua New Guinea well at these Games winning a Silver Medal in the Mixed Doubles at the 2015 Pacific Games at the age of 15. Stubbings also won a Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Mixed Doubles the same year. Two years later in 2017, Stubbings won a Silver Medal in the Men’s Singles at the Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu.

At the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa in 2019, at the Pacific Games, Stubbings won Silver in both the Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles. The 2022 Pacific Mini Games was another successful endeavor for Stubbings and his most recent.

He won a Silver Medal in the Men’s Singles and Gold Medal in the Mixed Doubles. These achievements have Stubbings ranked number one in the National Senior Ranking and number two in the Pacific Oceania Senior Ranking this year.

Stubbings has been a member of the Davis Cup since 2018 and is currently ranked number three in the Pacific Oceania Davis Cup.

He is poised yet again to bring PNG more medals at the 2023 Pacific Games, and now, he also has the honor to be one of the Flag Bearers for Team PNG.

Padio on the other hand was one of the members of the Gold Medal winning women’s football team at the 2015 and 2019 Pacific Games. The PNG women’s football team has won a Gold Medal in the last five consecutive Pacific Games starting with the 2003 Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji.

It will be a great feat if they can go one more this year and make it six consecutive Pacific Games Gold Medals in Women’s Football. Padio has been part of the National Women’s Football team for many years, and also represented PNG in the 2018 and 2022 OFC Women’s Championship in New Caledonia and Fiji, the 2016 Olympic Qualifiers, the 2016 and 2023 World Cup qualifiers, 2017 Under 19 OFC Championship, and the 2023 Club championship.

Padio is also credited with having great leadership qualities and is currently the Co-Captain for the Women’s National Team, and at Club level plays in the Women’s National Soccer League with the Hekari United Football Club. Padio who was excited to be given the honor said: “Thank you for the opportunity and we are going to bring back the 6th Gold medal” to a roar of approval from the rest of Team PNG.

2019 Flag Bearer, Abigail Tere-Apisah was present at the farewell ceremony to pass on the flag which was then presented by PNG Prime Minister, James Marape to the two champions. Stubbings was unavailable at the event so Padio received it on their behalf.

“Mathew and Ramona, as you both lead your fellow Team PNG athletes during the Opening Ceremony, you go forth knowing you are representing your sport, culture and motherland by uniting us all as one people, one nation, one country under the national flag of Papua New Guinea,” said Sir John.

“Congratulations Mathew Stubbings and Ramona Padio. I have no doubt you both will do us all proud! I am looking forward to watching you lead our Team PNG contingent out during the Opening Ceremony in Honiara, and then onwards into the Games. Godspeed Team PNG!” he said.

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