Pacific Games history in sight

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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S.P.G. Chief Executive Officer, Falefata Hele Matatia: Equalise opportunities for Samoa by including the big island.

S.P.G. Chief Executive Officer, Falefata Hele Matatia: Equalise opportunities for Samoa by including the big island. (Photo: Samoa Observer)

History is in sight for organisers of the 2019 Pacific Games. 

For the first time, the big island of Savai’i is being looked at as one of the venues.

During the Chamber of Commerce and Industry meeting on Monday, S.P.G. Chief Executive Officer, Falefata Hele Matatia revealed an ambitious list of “firsts” the planning committee intend to pursue over the next 12 months leading up to the Pacific Games.

One of them was to take the Games to Savai’i in an effort to equalise and localise the major event.

“We have to honour Savai’i,” said Falefata.

“There will be a wild card and of course we won’t just settle, we have to honour Savai’i so of course it’s going to be something big. It’s a big one for us taking the Games to Savai’i and we are thinking about equalising opportunities again. 

“You know, Savai’i equally deserves those opportunities so why not equally share them with the business community over there.”

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Falefata elaborated further on the sports they plan to allocate to the big island.

“We’re thinking of taking boxing, that’s our plan at the moment. But our organising committee hasn’t decided yet but we are definitely taking some games over to honour Savai’i as well. It’s a good opportunity for our people and visitors like our international athletes to experience that side of the island.”

Falefata acknowledges the task of inclusion is no easy feat and that there are challenges up ahead in making that a reality for Savai'i.

“Boxing is not a small thing it’s whole week,” he said. “We’ve got a plan, we are sitting down together with our committee trying to strategise in terms of what we need to support taking the Games to Savai'i because for every sport there has to be a transportation centre. There are key components to supporting the Games.”

Asked whether the planning committee was intending to add more games in Savai'i, Falefata said: “That’s the plan. To do more than one sport but it’s also being mindful that we have enough accommodation, enough transportation, and enough man power to help support that particular sport in Savai'i.”

As a first for Samoa and for the region, the S.P.G. will take the lead in making the major sporting event “plastic free and pushing to go organic in its approach to food supply.

“We are already talking to the M.N.R.E. to basically go ‘plastic free’. That’s the whole idea; it’s also to support the plastic ban by Government so that it can go hand in hand with what Government's already proposing.

“Water is such a big component for the Games, there’s going to be so much plastic water bottles and eventually so much plastic waste so that is one of the key conversations that we are having with M.N.R.E. and M.A.F. We have been in conversations with the C.E.O. of M.A.F. over food security and food supplies in terms of whether we have enough supplies of greens such as vegetables and fruits, so we need to get our farmers involved in this.”

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