Peniel Richard, who just turned 23 Wednesday, 14 June, is the current double national record holder in Triple Jump and Long Jump for the country. He met with school children at the Goroka-based National Sports Institute on 15 June.
In his first public appearance at the NSI, he talked to the enthusiastic children about discipline, commitment and respect to become successful, not only in sports but in all facets of life.
“It is important that you must discipline yourself, always commit yourself in what you do and respect and love your family and others in the community.”
Sharing the challenges he faces as a young man and how he manages these obstacles to excel in sport, his encouragement is to pursue your dreams with hope, faith and have fun in doing it.
“As long as you’re a better person you will always pursue your dreams, that even if you fail, there is always hope if you have faith and keep moving forward.
“Keep fighting and have fun doing it,” says Richard to a crowd of Goroka primary school children.
Richard broke the PNG Triple Jump record in 2016 in Florida, United States, with a 15.35 meter leap. The record was previously held by Mong Tavol.
This year in April, Richard added the second national record to his list in the Long Jump. He leaped 7.23 meters at the Lone Star Conference Championships in Commerce, Texas, in the US. The national record was previously held by renown PNG and Oceania athlete Sandy Katusele for 14 years.
The dual national record holder of a mixed-parentage of Eastern Highlands and East New Britain was raised at the popular Seigu suburb of Goroka town. He began his schooling at East Goroka Primary and proceeded to Goroka Secondary where he successfully completed Grade 12 education in 2013.
He is currently enrolled at the Angelo State University in Texas, United States, under a university scholarship where he is pursuing his studies and athletics training. He came home to visit families in Goroka this summer break and decided to take part in community outreach.
Richard will join other elite PNG athletes in the US for the Fiji Oceania Championships next week commencing Wednesday, 21 June, before proceeding to the Angelo State University to continue studies and training.
“I went through a lot of challenges coming from a simple but a happy and religious family. I think this is a good background for me that may not be the same for million others.
“There are many unfortunate children out there. As a young person I think I can relate to them. This is the purpose of me coming out here today.
“There is a big world out there with many exciting opportunities. We’re a resilient lot and we can strive for anything in life as long as we humble ourselves, respect one another and discipline our life.”
Father Anton Richard of East Britain was very calm about his son’s prospects but proud to see him taking a positive step in community outreach activities.
“Mipela sapotim Peniel tasol mi amamas tru long em go toktok long ol pikinini long komyuniti.” (We’re very supportive of Peniel but proud to see him taking the initiative to reach out to the children and other young men and women in the community).
“Olsem yangpela man, ol pikinini ken harim tok blo em.” (As a young man, we believe he can relate and communicate to them about positive living).
“Mi bilip em bai kamap gutpela rol model.” (I’m confident he will make an excellent role model.)