APIA, (SAMOA OBSERVER) —–The Commonwealth Youth Games in September is likely to cost Samoa between $20 to $30million (US$7.8 million – US$11.7 million).
That’s according to the Coordinator of the Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, VitolioLui, who assures that Samoa’s preparations for Games are progressing well.
“There’s no certain figure at this stage,” he told the Samoa Observer in an email. “But on the experience thus far, we expect that, even with our best efforts to keep costs to a minimum, these could be realistically between $20 and $30 million given the high standard and global scope of the event.”
And while there has been little in the way of media publicity about preparations, behind the scenes training of athletes and the massive logistical preparations for such an event are on schedule, he said.
“Four nations including Australia, South Africa, England and Scotland have so far sent advance teams to scout out the venues and the state of preparations and they have all been unanimous in their satisfaction and support,” he said.
“There is a cap of 1,000 athletes to compete in the Games with each member being allocated a quota.
“On the 1st March 2015, the deadline for athlete entries by numbers and events, 969 of the 1,000 were filled leaving only 31 places to reallocate, however, 21 teams have requested a total of 200 additional places between them.
“We expect a fully subscribed Games,” he said.
“Thus far we have entries for all the nine sports as follows:
Archery-26; Athletics-310; Boxing-83; Lawn Bowls-25; Rugby7s- 168 (8 men’s teams and 6 women’s teams); Squash-58; Swimming-157; Tennis-61; & Weightlifting-78.
“We will be tendering for works, supply of goods and services for accommodating athletes and officials at two colleges (Samoa College and C.C.W.S.S) and at hotels around town.”
“Block bookings have now practically been completed with the hotels.”
According to Lui, most of the 168 international technical officials required to officiate at the nine sports during the Games have been identified and travel and accommodation arrangements together with accreditation details are now confirmed.
“Once the total number of the required volunteers is established and confirmed, we’ll proceed to advertise and put them through a selection process and basic training.”
The detailed plans for transport and security and the official Opening and Closing ceremonies are underway, Lui said that ‘four of the five catering contracts have already been let and our organisation and the selected caterers will now be discussing the details of every aspect of catering to the vast number of our guests.’
“Completing and submitting our budget estimates from the financial year starting in July to the Ministry of Finance is the main priority.”
Other priorities are, “Putting out to tender renovation and overlay works on the various sports venues (other than Apia Park Stadium, Tennis courts and the Aquatic centre being repaired and upgraded by the Chinese government) to get them tailored and readied for the Games – including the Media centre and Dining Hall,” he said.
Then there is “revising and preparing the issue and distribution to all 70 Commonwealth Games teams of the final version of the Team Leaders (Chefs de Mission) Manual and nine individual Sports Guides and keeping the momentum going on on-going preparations.
With preparations well under way there are no further inspections by the C.G.F. planned, he said.
“ Most of the communications, and they are practically on a daily basis, with the Commonwealth Games.”
Lui also hopes that the country as a whole is engaged in the event but is unsure.”
“I have no way of knowing that but I sincerely hope so.” he said.
“My office’s main task is to prepare for staging the Games and relations with the 70 participating members of the Commonwealth and the CGF are the Rights holders of the Commonwealth Games and its Youth version.”
“The more direct links to the community and national sports associations is through our SASNOC, whose president is the Chair of our Sports Operations subcommittee and Organizing Committee (OC) Board member.”
“SASNOC is responsible for the selection and mobilizing of Team Samoa and the information I have from them and the nine sports managers is that church, school and village youth groups are actively involved in their preparations and now in serious training.”
The Chief Executive Officer of SASNOC Fa’amausiliTaiva Ah Young confirmed that inspections of teams representing Samoa have been underway for some time.
“We’ve been visiting these teams since the beginning of this year and they are preparing themselves for this major event.”
“So as for now, we will continue doing that to make sure that everything will go smoothly.”
“Some coaches from overseas countries will be in the country in the next two weeks to assist our teams in their preparations.”
In February, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi launched Samoa’s Commonwealth Youth Games 2015 sponsorship campaign.
And while the response can’t be said to be overwhelming, there has been a steady in-flow of both cash and value-in-kind donations from the business community to support the Games.
The 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games,which started in 2000, will be the fifth Commonwealth Youth Games to be held.
The first Commonwealth Youth Games were held in Scotland in August 2000 where 733 Athletes from 14 countries competed in 8 sports over 3 days.
The second edition of the Commonwealth Youth Games took place in Australia in December 2004 and saw over 1000 athletes and officials from 22 countries in a 10-sport programme.
The third Youth Games were held in the Indian city of Pune from 12 – 18 October 2008 where 71 nations and territories participated in nine sports.
A decision was taken by the Commonwealth Games Federation at their General Assembly in 2005 to move the Youth Games outside of the Olympic Games year and in doing so awarded the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games to the Isle of Man.
A further decision was taken at the General Assembly in 2008 to award the 2015 Commonwealth Yo u t h Games to Samoa and also to subsequently adjust the quadrennial cycle, so that future events will take place in 2017, 2021 and so on.
All competitors in the Commonwealth Youth Games will be a minimum of 14 and maximum of 18 years old in the year of competition.