BARENGIGL – Seventeen year old Mary Tenge is participating in the Melanesian athletic championship in Vanuatu and the people of Barengigl are mightily proud.
A Grade 9 student, Mary lives in Barengigl village in the Gembogl District of Simbu Province, the second child of Boi and Degba Tenge - the only girl child among their four children.
Mary – a specialised 1,500 metres and steeple chase runner - is in Papua New Guinea’s athletics team for the regional championships.
She discovered her potential as a middle distance runner in 2015 during the annual Mt Wilhelm relay marathon, the initiative of the former MP for Kundiawa-Gembogl, Tobias Kulung.
Every relay marathon team comprises six members who each run a distance of seven kilometres to complete the 46 kilometre race. Mary was the opening runner in her team and her speed over the distance led to her potential being discovered.
In 2017, her first year under his tutelage, Mary won gold in the 1500m and bronze in the 800m of the Highlands athletic championships in Goroka and gold in the 1500m, gold in the 3,000m steeple chase and silver in the half-marathon (21 km) at the PNG Games in Kimbe, West New Britain.
These accomplishments qualified her for a place in the PNG athletics team for Vanuatu’s Mini Pacific Games.
When asked how she feels about her achievements, Mary smiled and said she is proud to be representing PNG and aims to give her best under both the PNG and Simbu flags.
Our prayers and well wishes go with her in her travel and participation. Go Mary Tenge!
Roslyn Tony is the head teacher at Barengigl High School, about an hour’s driving along an appalling road that runs north of Kundiawa in Simbu Province