(Photo courtesy of Palau Track and Field Association)

PNOC says all states represented for the first time after several years

Palau National Olympic Committee (PNOC) Secretary General and Community and Cultural Affairs Minister Baklai Temengil-Chilton said that all states are represented in this year’s Belau Games, the first time after several years.

Minister Temengil-Chilton said that a total of 1,615 athletes will participate in 14 different sports prepared for the Belau Games which will kick off on June 14 and run through June 23.

Temengil-Chilton said that in the previous games, not all states were able to participate, owing it to the state governments’ support for their respective teams. She said that the last time that the Belau Games had complete state participations was three Belau Games ago.

“We really thank all the state governments that were really contributing to their teams. You can really see the young people who are so proud to represent their states wearing their uniforms,” Temengil-Chilton said.

According to Temengil-Chilton, the youngest athlete who will be playing for the games this year is aged seven while the oldest is 65 years old. Non-Palauans who are residing in Palau for at least a year can also participate in the games.

“It’s a great game and you can really see the excitement of the young people participating in the program and the games is really run and manage by the young people,” Temengil-Chilton said, adding that the games will also be an opportunity for the government to build young people’s skills in managing and dealing with the game operations.

“It’s really a good venue to bring young people together but also to build their skills and their characters in associating with other people,” Temengil-Chilton.

Around 600 volunteers will also be working hand in hand with the Belau Games organizers.

Temengil-Chilton furthered that aside from already conducting cleanup drives around the venues to be used for the games, they had also coordinated with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure that dengue outbreak will not affect the games.

MOH personnel will be present at the Belau Games ceremony to provide public awareness about dengue and how to prevent its widespread.

“We are seeing a lot of movement in Koror so we have to be mindful of those things and always remind them – our young people about [dengue prevention] so we’ll have protective things around the venues to make sure that the athletes and the officials are always being reminded to wear long sleeves [and] to put in skin repellant,” Temengil-Chilton said.

Temengil-Chilton said that this is not the first Belau Games where there is a dengue outbreak in Palau as in the past they also had the same scenario but it did not impact the games. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)