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China aids "miracle games"

The Chinese Government has come to aid of Samoa in hosting the Pacific Games, handing over 48 containers of sports equipment, cars and fireworks gear to the Pacific Games Office and the Government of Samoa Friday morning.

With just 57 days to go before the Pacific Games begin on 7 July, the shipment has arrived just in time.

The Samoa Ports Authority hosted the handover at Matautu Wharf, and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi gave a grateful address, highlighting the importance of the Chinese Government’s support in making the “miracle games” happen.

“Two years ago Samoa submitted our bid to host the 16th Pacific Games when Tonga decided to opt out of their commitment previously made to host these games,” said Tuilaepa.

An event of this scale requires a lot of money to ensure success, he continued. The Government approached China last year for assistance and were successful.

“Ties between our countries have grown from strength to strength,” he said, and this handover is another milestone in the relationship.

The shipment is nearly half made up of sports equipment, according to equipment coordinator Ben Simonet. There are 21 containers packed with gear for 15 sports, from badminton, to pole vaulting.

Mr. Simonet expects his team can begin unpacking from next week, and begin distributing the gear to the correct venues.

There are also 87 vehicles. Some are buses, which will be used to shepherd athletes around the venues and their accommodation, and some are cars for officials and ministerial delegations. There are hundreds more vehicles in the Pacific Games fleet already.

Tuilaepa said the gifts will go on to serve Samoa well after the Pacific Games.

“They will improve the performance of our current and future stars: our athletes, coaches and umpires.

“Samoa is now fully equipped with the right equipment and should be winning gold.”

The Pacific Games organising committee chairman, Minister Loau Keneti Sio, said he is pleased to see all the donations on Samoan shores.

“With these vehicles and equipment, I would say the Games will be delivered in the way they are supposed to, as expected from the region’s countries,” Loau said.

Each container is packed with donated goods. And Samoa showed its appreciation in style, with nearly every government Minister in attendance to show their thanks.

“The Chinese people believe that ‘a friend in need is a friend indeed’,” said Chinese Ambassador Chao Xioaliang, in his remarks.

“Samoa is China’s good friend, and reliable partner in the Pacific. So When the Samoan government asked China for help, the Chinese side made it one of our top priorities to provide assistance and support to the Samoan side.”

The Pacific Games will also see opening and closing fireworks, thanks to not only the donation of materials but also technicians and experts to help with the display on the day. 

There are also ten Chinese dance teachers in Samoa training performers for the opening and closing ceremonies, and while 200 athletes and 30 chefs are in China to prepare and train, 200 Chinese engineers and workers have been building new facilities for the Games.

Mr. Chao called the donation an “embodiment” of the friendship between China and Samoa.

Pacific Games C.E.O. Falefata Hele Matatia said the final dollar value of the donations is not yet known but will be shortly.

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