Samoa praised as Pacific Games closed

After a fortnight of sporting events in Upolu and for the first time taking the event to Savai'i, the curtains were drawn on the 2019 XVI Pacific Games at the Apia Park on Saturday night.

The Games opened with spectacular dancing, singing, laser lights displays and fireworks. They did it again last night, except it was bigger and better. 

It was a historical event for Samoa having hosted the biggest Pacific Games attracting more than 5000 athletes and team officials over the two weeks. 

Hundreds gathered at the Apia Park to witness the closing of a successful “miracle games” being hosted by Samoa with 14 months under its belt to prepare.

Samoa staged 27 sports and hosted athletes from 24 countries with more than 980 medals being won by individuals and teams from their respective nations. 

In closing the event, President of Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan commended Samoa.

 “Congratulations Samoa, you have raised the bar in taking Pacific Games to another level,” said Mr. Lahkan.  

He also spoke about the games being taken to the big island of Savai’i where boxing was held at Don Bosco Salelologa hall. 

The President described the experience in the island as “incredible” and “beautifully” accommodated by the people on the island. 

He also acknowledged the generosity and hospitality of the people of Samoa and thanked Prime Minister, Tuliaepa Dr Sailele Malielegaoi, Chairman of Samoa Pacific Games, Loau Keneti Sio and all the people and stakeholders that made the event possible. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa also took the podium. 

He congratulated the athletes for their talent and show of courage on display for the last two weeks. 

Tuilaepa pointed out that it’s the extra effort that separates the winner from the second place. 

“Sports events such as Pacific Games showcase talent in the Pacific rather than only recognizing winners,” he added. 

He said a winner is someone that dared to stand up and the men and women athletes need to be encouraged and developed. 

The Prime Minister also used the opportunity to thank the students from schools that put together entertainment in ensuring the guests takes back memories of Samoa’s culture and its Christian values. 

He took the time to thank Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, the Pacific Games Organizing team, the volunteers and media for promoting the games. 

Tuilaepa thanked the whole of Samoa from the village of Aleipata to Falealupo for their unwavering support and being good hosts.

In the prayer ceremony, Rev. Utufua Naseri described the games as a celebration of humanity. He said human joy and everything human such as emotions was experienced and seen during the past few weeks. 

While some might be feeling down from not winning any medals, Rev. Naseri said their experience of failure is only part of their success. 

“The impact of failure is the stepping stone towards success,” he said. 

“There is always hope of doing better next time.” 

The closing ceremony began with a parade of nations led by flag bearers and followed by athletes, officials and volunteers. 

A tribute to Sports followed after with National Orchestra of Samoa singing the song “La’u Rosa led by Isabella Moore. 

The Games flag was lowered together with the national flag of Samoa before the entertainments from the students and concluded with the fire knife dance. 

The final touch of colours was seen with the fireworks lighting up the sky as Samoa bid farewell to the thousands that came to participate in the game. 

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