The Palau Olympians and Athletes Commission (POAC) held an athletes’ forum on 13 February 2019 from 9:00am – 11:00am at the Palau National Olympic Conference Room in Koror, Palau.

Olympians and Athlete representatives from their respective sports federation in Palau were invited to participate in this forum. Among the 16 member federations, including Boxing as our newest Associate Member, only 14 athlete representatives from 9 of the sports federations to include Archery, Athletics, Basketball, Volleyball, Paddling, Judo, Softball, Swimming, Football (Soccer) and Wrestling attended this forum.  According to John Tarkong Jr., President, POAC, who welcomed and chaired the Athletes Forum, he mentioned that “This forum provided an excellent opportunity to unite our Olympians and athletes to reflect on the Commissions work and activities, and to collect feedback from our athletes. We were able to discuss matters concerning our athletes’ role, responsibilities, goals and how important it is to place the athletes at the heart of the Olympic movement and strengthening support to the athletes, through the POAC that serves as a link between our athletes and our Palau NOC and our athletes Commission.”

PNOC President Frank Kyota spoke to the Athletes’ Forum on the importance of the Athletes’ Commission and how the athletes and their interests are an integral part of the Olympic Movement. Kyota explained how Palau has come a long way since sports was first organized in Palau and reflected on his journey and life experience as an athlete and the positive impact of sports around the world. PNOC Secretary General, Ms. Baklai Tementil also spoke to our athletes and provided advice and insight on how the Palau NOC is there to support all matters concerning athletes and the importance of having 1 representative from our Athletes Commission on the Palau NOC Executive Board as well as 2 athletes representatives (male and female) at the Annual General Assembly. Temengil mentioned that our Athletes Commission is being supported by the IOC. There are a lot of opportunities for our developing athletes in terms of Olympic scholarships, education, training, travel and participation in the Olympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, interacting with other athletes around the world and liaising with other IF and NOC Athletes commissions throughout the world.

The forum reflected on the Commissions work over the years and responsibilities of the Commission. An update and list of contact information of all members were provided to the participants. A guideline of the Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration was provided to help our athletes understand their rights and responsibilities when playing sports so that there is no discrimination when playing sports, importance of transparency, fair play, fair and equal gender representation, freedom of expression and other rights and responsibilities. Ms. Temengil expressed the importance of how the athletes should uphold the Olympic values, respect and act as role models in our communities. A review and update of the POAC Charter was discussed and recommendations from the participants were made to ensure that the members that took place not only in the Olympic Games, but at international and regional games, were represented on this commission. Tarkong stressed the importance of having the National Federations nominate their athlete representatives to the Athletes Commission and to the Executive Board. Ms. Jennifer Anson, Olympian and Micronesia’s Athlete Representative on the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) Athletes Commission, reported on the Oceania Athletes Commission Survey Report 2018 that included an up to date list of our members, challenges and activities for Palau.

Palau nominated two athletes, Adrian Ililau (Athletics) and Keisha Tulop (Judo), to attend the ONOC Athletes Forum being held in Fiji from 19-23, February 2019. Ms. Peoria Koshiba (Olympian) will also represent Palau at the World Olympians Forum 2019 in Geneva from 15-17 April 2019.

Another follow up meeting will be held next month.