Samoa has advantage as 2019 Pacific Games host, says Games President

Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Games, Andrew Minogue, President of the Pacific Games Council Vidhya Lakhan and President of the Samoa Association of Sports & National Olympic Committee (SASNOC) Patrick Fepuleai during a press conference today

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 17 AUGUST 2017: Samoa’s chances of hosting the 2019 Pacific Games are promising according to the President of the Pacific Games Council Vidhya Lakhan who is visiting Samoa this week.

He said Samoa has “a very strong bid that you don’t have to build.” The other bidders are Guam and Tahiti.

To Samoa’s advantage is the availability of (sports and support) facilities, the support of the Government and the expertise of people who were involved in organizing the South Pacific Games Samoa hosted in 2007.

On the other hand, Guam and Tahiti have problems within their own jurisdictions.

Samoa is the first bidding country visited by President of the Pacific Games Council Vidhya Lakhan and the Games Chief Executive Officer Andrew Minogue and they had visited all the sports venues at Tuana’imato and Apia Park.

“We are more than pleased with venues already in place, although some venues need renovation, but nothing major,” said Lakhan.

He is also pleased to know that China has stepped in to upgrade and renovate some of the ajor venues such as the aqua centre.

Their meeting yesterday with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and the Ministers of Finance and Sports was also fruitful.

“We are happy with the level of support the Prime Minister and his Government is giving to the  Samoa Association of Sports & National Olympic Committee (SASNOC) in their desire to host the 2019 games,” said Lakhan.

“We also met with  SASNOC Board to let them know what they were getting themselves into by saying they want to host the games, because  it is one of the largest projects we have in this part of the world every four years, bringing together 3-4000 athletes and 26 sports over  a two week period,” Lakhan explained.

He said the games is a massive undertaking and are awarded to a member of the games council, which is SASNOC “and we enter into a partnership with Council, SASNOC and Government if Samoa is successful.”

“The Government’s undertaking is to underwrite the cost of the games and SASNOC’s responsibility is putting together the games Organizing Committee in consultation with us,” said Lakhan.

All this will be constituted in an Authority which holds 8 seats. The four seats will be for the Government to nominate to look after their interest, Samoa Pacific Games Authority (SPGA) has 3 seats and the Pacific Games Council retains one seat.

Asked how much funding is expected from Samoa if awarded the bid, Lakhan said $20 million.

For the Pacific Games, 16 sports are compulsory and the host country chooses other optional sports to constitute the 26 sports in the games.

SASNOC President, Patrick Fepulea’i said only the netball court needs upgrading, but all other venues have already been upgraded during the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2015.

He is confident about the facilities, but there is a need to upgrade the technical expertise as far as refereeing is concerned.

COMPULSORY SPORTS – Athletics, Basketball (2 versions – Indoor & three on three), Soccer, Boxing, Golf, Judo, Rugby Sevens, Sailing, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwando, Tennis, Trialathon, Va’a, Volleyball (2 versions Indoors & Beach) Weightlifting

OPTIONAL SPORTS – Archery, Badminton, English Cricket, Lawn Bowls, Netball, Power Lifting, Rugby League Nines, Shooting, Squash, Touch Rugby.