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4 Dec 2023 12:06
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  •   Home > News > International

    Papua New Guinea's women's boxing team needs money to keep their Pacific Games dream alive

    It hasn't always been easy for members of Papua New Guinea's women's boxing team to forge their way in the sport, and now they need financial support to make it to the Pacific Games.

    Boxing has always been in Liranda Kidu's blood.

    The 20-year-old from Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea started the sport in 2018.

    "I actually wasn't into boxing or any sport, but having been fortunate to have seen both my dad and my elder brother performing in the ring has pushed me to take a step forward, although, I never thought I would make it this far," Kidu said.

    Kidu turned pro last season after competing in 11 amateur fights, and she's been selected to compete in the heavyweight division at this month's Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

    "I am aiming to bring back a gold medal for my country," Kidu said.

    The nine women on the PNG boxing team earned selection from local competitions, including the National Championships in April.

    The PNG Women's Boxing Club is aiming to send all athletes to the Solomon Islands for the Games, but a big challenge remains – they don't have a major sponsor to assist in covering airfares, accommodation and logistics.

    "The relentless commitment portrayed by these lasses shows how important this championship means to them individually and I would not want to see any one of them missing out," national team coach Mark Keto said.

    "We always talk about better results. If we want to see better results, we must invest and support our local talents at such international events to push them forth."

    The women are mostly between the ages of 16–30 and are either unemployed or studying, with only a handful employed.

    Kidu is thankful that her family is very supportive of her sporting career.

    "I love boxing but it is quite challenging to be fully equipped but thankfully, my dad provides for me," Kidu said.

    Another boxer, Leontine Kevin, also started the sport in 2018 alongside Kidu.

    The 25-year-old left boxing in 2019 due to personal reasons and made her comeback in 2020 where she trained under coach Raphaella Baki with the Kamapim Boxing Meri club, which later saw her scouted by coach Keto to train with the national team.

    Kevin is a receptionist at a local accounting firm.

    "I sleep at my workplace during weekdays as I work in the night and I spend most of my day time at the gym training with my clubmates," Kevin said.

    Kevin says one of the major challenges she has to deal with regularly is her daily commute.

    "People generally look at me, especially when I am in my sporting attire, and criticise how I dress purely because I am a woman," she said.

    But she's used these critiques as her motivation and challenged herself to get better at what she loves doing.

    "Boxing is something I have always been passionate about and their criticism will not stop me from pursuing my passion," she said.

    Kevin also has a message for up-and-coming female boxers in her country.

    "Boxing is about commitment, humbleness and hard work. It takes a great amount of all these qualities to perfect your stand in the ring," she said.

    Eight members of the PNG women's boxing team will be making their first international appearance whilst one, Laizani Soma, will be spearheading them as the veteran in the club having represented PNG at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and 2019 Pacific Games.

    Lisa Puni is a freelance journalist in Papua New Guinea, previously she was a sports & entertainment journalist at Media Niu Guinea Limited (EMTV).

    She is a member of ABC International Development's Women in News and Sport Initiative, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Team Up program.


    © 2023 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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