PNG swimming duo off to Olympics via universality placing

Wednesday, 3 July 2024, 3:23 pm

PNG swimmers Josh Tarere (left) and Georgia-Leigh Vele will represent the country at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. (NBC News)

Papua New Guinea swimming pair Josh Tarere and Georgia-Leigh Vele have been approved by World Aquatics as the ‘universality swimmers’ to compete at the Paris Olympics.

The duo will represent PNG in the freestyle event with male swimmer, Tarere, competing in 100m whilst Vele will swim in the 50m race of female category.

PNG swimming president Elizabeth Wells said this is the first time both athletes will compete in the Olympics, and they’re keen to see the duo take on the challenge.

“They are both extremely motivated and have a vision to do their best in the pool,” Wells said.
“Both have been very dedicated to their training program to secure a spot, especially over the past 12 months.

“Their coaches have in place a plan which is devoted to preparation for doing well in competition. They two swimmers have a high regard for performance excellence, good training and good preparation.”

Tarere is currently under a World Aquatics Scholarship training at the elite Thanyapura Training Centre in Phuket, Thailand while female swimmer Vele is training in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Their last competition with PNG Swim team was at the Oceania Aquatics held in Gold Coast in April this year, where Vele won bronze in the 50m butterfly with a time of 29.57 seconds. Her current record in the 50m freestyle is 27.55 seconds, heading into Paris.

Meanwhile, Tarere, clocked a personal best of 54.11 sec in the 100m freestyle during the Oceania champions and will look to improve on the World stage.

Wells said both are actively striving to reach their goal times in the lead up preparation before departing for the Paris Olympics and will compete with a positive purpose to swim fast for PNG, under the direction of Coach Rick Van Der Zant.

“They will stay in their home programs for the next two weeks, going into their taper phase of their preparation before competing on the world stage in Paris,” she said.

Tarere will contest the 100m event on July 30 and Vele will race 50m freestyle on August 3 Paris La Defense Arena.