APIA, (RNZI) — Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says he is “99 percent confident” Samoa will be awarded hosting rights for the 2019 Pacific Games.
The 1983 and 2007 hosts are competing against Tahiti and Guam for the right to stage the event in two years’ time, after Tonga pulled out because of a lack of government support.
Samoa were the first country to confirm their interest, with the Prime Minister writing to the Pacific Games Council last month to give his commitment of the government’s support for the bid.
“I asked that we would be interested to host the Pacific Games and of course I always hold sports as a major outlet for many of our unemployed youth, so sport is very dear to me and I want to save the Games,” he said.
“But then the council, in its wisdom, decided to go through the normal process to give every member the right to offer (their services), which of course is right, is correct”.
Tahiti and Guam have both held the Pacific Games on two occasions, most recently in 1995 and 1999.
But Tuilaepa believed Samoa had the upper hand.
“I could say that we are ahead in the sense that our facilities are ok,” he said.
“You will remember that we hosted the Commonwealth Youth (Games) in 2015, December, so we will not have to spend so much money.
“At the same time we have already signed an agreement with China for the upgrading of sports fields that need further upgrading and I could see that we need to look again at the sports field where athletics are held.
“And in any case we are far ahead of any other island in the Pacific, in terms of the suitability of its sports fields to host the Games.”
The successful host will be announced by the end of the month.