Pacific Games Council President expresses confidence in Samoa

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Pacific Games Council President, Vidhya Lakhan.

Pacific Games Council President, Vidhya Lakhan. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Samoa is ready to host next year’s Pacific Games.

Pacific Games Council President, Vidhya Lakhan made this statement saying there is no secret behind Samoa hosting the Games because the venue and accommodation for all athletes have been finalised. 

With Samoa’s experience in hosting the 2007 South Pacific Games and the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2015, he is adamant Samoa will pull through.

“Well the major ingredient is the accommodation for the athletes and the venue, apparently Samoa has them both,” he said. 

 “The third bit is the expertise that will be needed to put such an event together. Samoa has hosted the 2007 South Pacific Games, the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games so the people here have the expertise. 

“Samoa has it all. All that needs to be done and Samoa has got 12 months to work on the things that needs to be done, which the organizing committee is working on is the final plan on how things will fall in place before the athletes start to come in, and it shouldn’t be very difficult at all for the Samoans.” 

Mr. Lakhan also highlighted some of the discussions that were made during the meeting that they have had and the presentation by Samoa of their plan for the Pacific Games in 2019. 

“It is innovative and I know that this is the first game where athletes would be staying in hotels, so it is a plus for the athletes and also for the organizing committee.

“There is no need to convert schools into dormitories and buy all the bags and the beddings. So you have the two major ingredients in place,” he added.

 “What I saw on the night of the logo launch was that the Samoans are ready and they want the Games now, unfortunately we cannot but the vibe is very positive. 

“People are excited and Samoa will be an excellent host and the participants cannot wait to get here. The logo is excellent and it is a true reflection of what the Games is all about.”

Mr. Lakhan also highlighted some of the changes, which were the outcome of their general assembly meeting over the weekend.

“It is a normal meeting that we have every year and what we do is give all the membership a brief of what is happening and where the council is, where we are going, in which direction and some of the things that we do.

“Our work is tied in with the next Games, so our focus has been Samoa 2019 and after that we go into Saipan in 2021, then in 2023 we go into Solomon Islands.

“The other thing is that there are some of the constitutional changes that we want to bring in. Our plan is to make the Pacific Games, the Games of the Oceania region,” he said.  

“So what we want is for example if a Samoan wins a Gold medal in boxing, he should automatically qualify for the Olympic Games. The boxer should not have to go to Asia or Africa to qualify for the Olympic Games. So that is what we want, now to do that everyone within the Oceania Region has to take part.

“And for a very long time, Australia and New Zealand were kept out of the Pacific Games, so we are trying to bring them in. Slowly you will see New Zealand and Australia take part in some of the Games in 2019.

“So we made some changes to the constitution and we hope that in 2019, Australia and New Zealand will take part in other sports in the Pacific Games. Once when that is established, then I am sure that all the international federations will give recognition to the Pacific Games as the Games of the continent.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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