The PNGOC sold 25,000 t-shirts across two days of auctioning ©Getty Images

The finances of the Papua New Guinea National Olympic Committee (PNGOC) have been boosted after it raised PGK375,000 (£81,752/€97,805/$10,6428) from two Trukai Fun Run Auctions held in the city of Lae and Port Moresby, the country’s capital, on March 24 and 31.

The local communities bought Trukai Fun Run t-shirts to show their support with a total of 25,000 shirts being sold across the two days, despite the actual fun run being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Lae Yacht Club, 9,700 shirts were bought for PGK145,500 (£31,720/€37,750/$41,300) while 15,300 were auctioned for PGK229,500 (£50,000/€59,800/$65,100) at the APEC Haus in the capital.

"Your support through the purchase of the fun run shirts will also assist various schools and institutions around the country to raise extra funds for their school projects and enable more people to be a part of this campaign," Sir John Dawanincura, the President of the PNGOC, said.

Dawanincura recognised Raumai 18 Ltd, Trukai Industries Ltd and Papindo Group and Papua New Guinea Rugby Union, Home Security Services and Brian Bell Group for being the top three bidders in Lae and Port Moresby, respectively.

"This level of support gives us confidence and the impetus to shoulder on, as we strive to offer the best possibilities for our athletes and our country," he continued.

The PNGOC is planning to send a team of athletes to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
The PNGOC is planning to send a team of athletes to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

"Despite the fact that there will be no fun run this year due to the pandemic and restrictions on mass gatherings, we are thankful that the business communities were still able to support us at the auctions."

Dawanincura added: "We understand the challenges businesses have faced in the last two years due to the impact of Covid.

"In spite of this, the support at the auctions has demonstrated the resilience of the business community in PNG."

Truskai Industries, which is the naming rights sponsor of the fun run and has been a partner of the PNGOC since 2000, sponsored 50,000 t-shirts in total and the PNGOC hopes it can sell the remaining portion before its team leaves for the Pacific Mini Games and Commonwealth Games.

The Pacific Mini Games are due to be held from June 17 to 25 in the Northern Marianas islands while the Commonwealth Games are expected to be staged between July 28 and August 8 in Birmingham.

The PNGOC has insisted those who have purchased the fun run t-shirt can donate it to schools where they can be resold for a price below PGK15 (£3.27/€3.91/$4.26) and the proceeds be kept by the schools for their projects.

The t-shirts have been designed to support the Government’s message of reducing COVID-19 in the community with the message "Reduce Your Risk of COVID-19".