PHOTO: Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Matafa, Chinese Embassy Charge ‘de Affairs Ms. Li Hong Jing and the Minister of Sports, led the ground breaking ceremony for the Multi-Sports Centre at Tuana’imato this morning.
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2018: The new Multi-Sport Centre to cater for next year’s Pacific Games broke ground today marking the beginning of construction work.
Officiating the ceremony was Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa and the Chinese Embassy Charge ‘de Affair’s Li Hong Jing.
“Today marks another chapter in the bilateral relationship between Samoa and the People’s Republic of China, and this partnership will no doubt grow stronger in the future,” said Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
She said when Samoa won the bid to host the Pacific Games 2019 after Tonga pulled out, the Samoan Government submitted a proposal to the Chinese Government through the China Aid Assistance to help renovate of the existing sports facilities built under the China Aid Funds.
These facilities include the Samoa Aquatic Centre, the Apia Park Gymnasium, Apia Park Stadium, and Tennis Courts.
“A team of engineers from China arrived at the beginning of the year to conduct a thorough study of the project, and concluded that the gymnasium at Apia Park was not safe and no longer fit for competition purposes,” said Fiame.
A decision was reached that the gym will be replaced, however, due to recent flooding at Apia area, Government decided to relocate the gymnasium to Tuana’imato hence the ground breaking today.
Next year will be the 3rd time Samoa will host these games, and China has always helped build and refurbishing the sport facilities.
“There is a very limited time left before the opening of the 2019 Pacific Games, and although the preparation schedule becomes extremely tight, the Chinese Government still arranged this urgent project since we highly value the bilateral cooperation with Samoa in cultural and sports field,” said China’s Charge ‘de Affair’s Li Hong Jing.
She said all efforts have been and will be done to ensure the usage of this new gym for the 2019 Pacific Games.
It is expected that the new Multi-Sport Centre will cover an area of 5,600 square meters and can hosts sports such as badminton, table tennis, basketball, volleyball and netball.
The Centre will also hold 1,200 seats and 400 movable seats.
The Chinese company, Shanghai Construction is constructing the Centre that will be completed in May before handing over to the Samoa Pacific Games Authority in June 2019.
Jing said the Centre’s construction team will use their experience in Samoa to meet the design and local weather conditions, the usage requirements and the future maintenance work of this new gym.
“This building will be the symbol of friendship between China and Samoa, and contributes to the sports development as a sport center for all Samoa citizens,” said Jing.
Samoa Pacific Games Chief Executive Officer Falefata Hele Matatia could not disclose the cost of the work, but said it is a massive project.