Doubly Blessed
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Mary Tenge: Melanesian athlete & the pride of Barengigl


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.

Mary Tenge farewelled from Barengigl High SchoolSeeing Mary’s athletic abilities, PNG national athletics coach Paul Komba took her on board for coaching.

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.

Goodbye and good luckMary’s achievement is very special because of her raw talent developed in a rural setting qualifying her in the national team in such a short period of time.

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


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Rashmii Bell

Awesome natural talent! All the best at the Mini-Games and onwards, Mary.

Mathias Kin

Mary yu fit meri! Go kisim gold tasol. Thank yoy Roselyn for this lovely story.

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