Games pioneer Kaddour honoured with Life Membership
The first ever honorary award of a Life Membership from the Pacific Games Council was conferred on founding father and pioneer Roger Kaddour of New Caledonia.
Mr. Kaddour was honoured during the Pacific Games Council annual general assembly on Sunday at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalow, for his outstanding service of five decades to the Pacific Games Council and its progress.
Pacific Games Council President, Vidhya Lakhan presented the honorary plague to the 91-year-old New Caledonian with a standing ovation from sporting leaders of the Pacific Islands who attended the meeting.
A former President of the Pacific Games Council himself, Mr. Kaddour in receiving the award said he is a very happy man.
“I am honoured and thrilled with the recognition,” he told the Samoa Observer in French which was translated.
“I was one of the youngest at the then 1983 South Pacific Games and now I am the oldest of them all at the games in Samoa. I am very happy and thankful.”
P.G.C. President, Mr. Lakhan said the Life Membership is the Council’s appreciation to Mr. Kaddour for his contribution and long period of service.
“He has been involved with the Games since 1963 and he has gone to almost all the games.
“There were about two games that he missed due to illness but he has been to all the Pacific Games event.”
Mr. Kaddour has participated in sixteen Pacific Games.
He was one of three pioneers that were involved in writing the protocol to setup the spirit of the Pacific Games.
The veteran council member led the New Caledonian team in Suva Fiji 1963 as the President of the country’s sports committee.
During that first game he made the decision to host the second games in Noumea New Caledonia and worked to get the support of the French government.
He managed to convince the French government to invest in sports venues and organised a successful South Pacific Games in 1966.
He became the President of the P.G.C. in 1966 for three terms and on several occasions after that.
Before the 1975 Games in Guam, he was sent to the country with Leslie Martin as former presidents to judge if the island was ready to welcome the games.
Their report pointed out that the organisation was not in the best shape and capacity to have the games, but the Council maintained during a memorable meeting in Fiji in 1974 that the games will remain and stay in Guam.
Whilst the organisation was problematic for those games, through Mr. Kaddour’s work and the Council and cooperation, leaders at the time organised a successful game.
After the difficult experience, Mr. Kaddour was asked once again to become the President from 1976 to 1979.
The Fiji organising committee took the presidency of the Council after those games in 1979 but as the Commodore of the Fijian army that President was sent overseas and Mr. Kaddour was asked again to act as President while he was away.
The Commodore came back just in time to oversee the Opening Ceremony of the South Pacific Games in Samoa 1983 when it was first hosted by the country.
Because of his old age, Mr. Kaddour was undecided whether to attend the games in Samoa because of his strength.
As the leading country on the medal tally chart bagging 93 medals, the 91-year-old pulled through and came to Samoa to encourage all the young athletes to give it their best for their country.