The Pacific is vast and the stories of the athletes competing in the upcoming Pacific Games are as varied as the region. ANZ is proud to support its own champions who will be taking to the contest. Here are some of their stories.
Georges Langa has never allowed the restricted use of his left leg to stop him doing anything.
While working as a Customer Consultant in ANZ’s Customer Service Centre Team in Vanuatu, he is now training to be part of the Vanuatu Paralympic shot put team.
Langa will make the journey to the Solomon Islands for the 17th Pacific Games – also known as SOL2023 – where 24 nations from around the region will compete. The games start on November 19 and conclude on December 2.
“I am appreciative of ANZ supporting me in my sports involvement. I am able to take time off for training and also travel for sports competitions,” Langa says.
But, as he explains, his journey to the top level came about by chance.
“I started participating in sports back in my village. Playing volleyball, football, basketball and other active games children play.”
Langa only got involved in professional sport nine years ago. He was going for a walk in Mele Village, Efate, when he had an accidental meeting.
“A fateful Sunday afternoon, I was on my way to church when a lady stopped me on the way to invite me to trial for rowing,” he says. “I had seen Va’a (the word for canoe) in Tahiti during my time there and was intrigued. However this was an opportunity to participate.”
“I attended trials the following Saturday and was called back to training after that. After months of rigorous training, I was selected to represent Vanuatu in my first international Para-Rowing Regatta Competition in Australia.”
He made it to the finals for Group A and came fifth.
“It was impressive for a first timer like me and a para-rower from an island nation like Vanuatu,” Langa says. “I was enthusiastic about the sport because of the opportunity of being consistently coached by professionals and improving my skill and technique.”
“This built discipline, consistency, character and sportsmanship. I had the opportunity to be part of national team and fly the Vanuatu flag internationally at a professional level.”
Langa says he was supported by his family in Mele Village – including two sisters and one brother. Relaxing involves fishing with cousins and helping his Mum make tuluk - a delicacy from his village.
Langa is now involved in the Vanuatu Paralympic Committee as a para-athlete representative.
“I started getting involved in other sports such as para-athletics and recently shot put and discus. I have competed in the Arafura Games in Darwin, South Pacific Games in Samoa and Commonwealth Games in England.”