Former North Queensland Cowboys  Jonathan Thurston and Brent Tate participated in a charity auction organised by the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee ©Trukai Fun Run

Retired North Queensland Cowboys players participated in the Trukai Fun Run auction in Port Moresby and Lae to help the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee (PNGOC) raise money for this year's 2019 Pacific Games.

Australia's Jonathan Thurston and Brent Tate, both former players for the North Queensland Cowboys, attended the events, as reported by The National

The Australian National Rugby League club has an 11-year partnership with Trukai Industries, Papua New Guinea's leading rice supplier.

The company sponsors the annual fun run event which raises money for the PNGOC.

This year's funds going towards Team PNG and the athletes competing in July's Pacific Games in Samoa. 

The Trukai Fun Run is due to take place on June 16 this year, marking 20 years of partnership between Trukai and the PNGOC, with the auctions selling tee-shirts for the event. 

There was a 25 per cent increase in the number of tee-shirts sold at the auction in Lae, with 21,100 t-shirts sold, raising a total of K211,000 (£47,000/$62,500/€55,000).

The Trukai Fun Run t-shirt auction took place in Lae and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea ©Trukai Fun Run
The Trukai Fun Run t-shirt auction took place in Lae and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea ©Trukai Fun Run

"We are absolutely delighted to have Trukai and the Cowboys Johnathan Thurston and Brent Tate be part of the Fun Run this year," PNGOC general-secretary Auvita Rapilla said.

"We’ve had the Fun Run going on since 1983 with support from the corporate community and our partnership with Trukai has been going on for 20 years now.

"The support really means a lot to Team PNG and our athletes because PNG is predominantly made up of athletes that are students, unemployed or in the low income category.

"We do a lot in terms of fundraising and we raise the necessary funds to help our athletes who want to excel.

"It is a big team and its’ always a challenge for us raising the necessary funds and we’re only able to do that with the support from corporate partners like Trukai Industries."

At both auctions, a total of 61,200 tee-shirts were sold, raising K612,000 (£137,000/$181,000/€160,000).

The highest bidder was Raumai 18, a wholesale supermarket company, who brought 3,000 tee-shirts worth K30,000 (£6,750/$9,000/€8,000).