The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Sports Facilities Authority (S.S.F.A.), Moefaauo Polailevao Moananu, is a man on a mission.
The Government has entrusted him a big part of the responsibility of getting the facilities ready for the Pacific Games 2019. And he is confident that Samoa will be ready.
One of the most important facilities is the Aquatic Center at Tuanaimato. Contrary to critics who claim that the facility is a “great white elephant draining government coffers in maintenance expenses,” Moefaaua does not believe so.
“Without the Aquatic Center, Samoa would not had the leverage to bid and secure the hosting rights for international sporting events starting from the 2007 Pacific Games, (when the Aquatic Center was build) until now,” he said.
Because swimming and athletics are compulsory sports for international sporting events, Samoa needed the Aquatic Center to host the 2007 Pacific Games and most recently the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
Close to two thousand athletes, officials, VIP and spectators from 63 nations and territories participated in the nine sports: aquatics, archery, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rugby sevens, squash, tennis and weightlifting contested in the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
“The spin-offs from the Youth Games translated into thousands of dollars in tourism revenues directly injected our economy,” noted Moefaauo.
And due to Samoa’s hosting success rate of these world sporting events, not including the United Nations S.I.D.s conference which brought over 4,000 visitors, it has boosted Samoa tourism profile. .
“The latest Central Bank report showed that annual tourism revenues are in the neighborhood of close to $400 million tala a year,” he noted.
As for the Pacific Games next year, Moefaauo has reassured that the Aquatic Center is ready to cater for swimming participants and spectators for the 2019 regional event.
This is reflected by the maintenance of the Aquatic Center since the 2007 Pacific Games. The Chinese government has been financing the maintenance of the facilities at a cost of about $2 million per year.
As for the Apia Parks athletic tracks, the S.S.F.A. Chief says that it needs resurfacing from the wear and tear and also the recent Cyclone Gita flooding.
But its “cosmetics work and we have included the resurfacing of the track in a funding proposal to China per Memorandum of Understanding already signed between our government and the Republic.”
Under that M.O.U, Moefaauo says China is also being approached to include a new gymnasium to replace the Netball gym totalled by Cyclone Evan as well as sporting equipment and a range of structural rehabilitation work needed for the tennis courts, the stadiums and the Apia Park gymnasium.
The Tuanaimato gym and sports facilities, continued the Chief Executive, are in great shape after upgrade for the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
The N.U.S gymnasium is also ready for the 2019 Pacific Games, he added.
As the countdown continues, Moefaauo is confident that all the sporting facilities will be ready for the Pacific Games 2019.
A total of 26 sports will be contested in next year’s games.
The 14 listed are core sports, which is mandatory in all Pacific Games events with the remaining 12 out of the 23 optional sports to be selected by the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (S.A.S.N.O.C.).