Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielgaoi with Australia’s High Commissioner, Sarah Moriaty and Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne during the virtual launch of the Australia Regional Sports Hub.
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – 09 NOVEMBER 2020: The Australia Regional Sports Hub launched last Friday in Apia looks at strengthening bilateral relations between Australia and the Pacific and offers more opportunities for Pacific athletes.
Funded by Pacific Australia Sports, the Hub will deliver sports activities, training and competitions for athletes but also teams and sports administrations.
“As friends and rivals in the sporting arena, we bring out the best in one another and this Regional Hub will support our Pacific sports family to work together and keep lifting our games,” said Australia Foreign Minister, Marise Payne speaking from Sydney during the virtual launch last Friday.
She said the project reinforces Australia’s commitment to sports high performance across the Pacific.
“Sports sits at the heart of Australia’s special bond with the Pacific in so many ways, as it reflects so much on who we are, what we stand for and how we work together. The power of sport is evident today even during a global pandemic,” she said.
Australia and New Zealand have had their share of success in sports, especially in rugby where Samoa’s elite rugby players are recruited by these countries.
According to Payne, “it is part of what merges and strengthen us and those ties across our Pacific family.”
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi was host on behalf of the Blue Pacific region.
He said sport is a bridge between individuals and nations, and it can be an active tool for overcoming stereotypes, rising above exclusion, and fostering citizenship, and numerous examples of these perceptions can be found in our small island developing states.
“We value the importance of sport in Samoa; it aids to improve the health status of participants, increases skills development of our youth, reduces social problems and enhances community cohesion,” he said.
He said having a Hub in Apia catering for the Pacific will assist in developing and enhancing a successful pathway for the youth in the future.