CONCERN citizens group, Forum Solomon Islands International (FSII) has appealed to sporting federations eyeing the Pacific Games next year to start their preparations.
The Pacific Games, the region’s major sporting event will be hosted by neighboring PNG next year and will run from the 4th to 18thof July 2015 in PNG’s capital City, Port Moresby.
President of the PNGSFOC, Sir Henry ToRobert when making this announcement at a recent press conference said the dates were confirmed after considered consultation with the Pacific Games Council, International Federations and the University of Papua New Guinea.
He said PNG PGA will now proceed to notify member Pacific Games Associations of the dates. The announcement of the dates now gives the PNG2015 GOC a set target to work towards.
PNG2015 games organizing committee chairperson, Emma Waiwai who was also present at the press conference added that an expression of interests from individuals to work as volunteers towards and during the Pacific Games in 2015 has been overwhelming.
Additional reports also confirmed that Games preparations in Port Moresby are also on target and progressing well.
The South Pacific Commission founded the first South Pacific Games in 1962, to promote and develop sports, exclusively for the nations of the region and its people, without barriers of “race, color or politics”.
Much in line with the Olympics, with the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship reigning supreme, the first Games were held in 1963 at Suva, Fiji.
The sporting fanfare will bring together the region’s best sportsmen and women to compete against each other. Solomon Islands never hosted the prestigious games of the pacific.
For more than 20 years, the country failed to convince the PG Council to host this major sporting event, the Pacific games.
The best the Solomon Islands achieved in terms of hosting Pacific sporting events was in 1981 when it hosted the first Mini Games in Honiara.
FSII chief executive officer (CEO), Benjamin Afuga posted in the group’s popular FSII Facebook page that the PG is a major sporting event that many Pacific Island states recognized and poured in millions of dollars to prepare their teams, improved facilities, hired overseas coaches and other areas.
“Whilst other countries have been busy preparing for the prestigious games, most of our national sporting federations are yet to start preparations.
“We haven’t heard of any preparations or witnessed any ground work. What’s wrong with our federations eyeing the Pacific Games?
Afuga said the last minute attitude must change if the country wants more gold medals next year.
“We can only make a change for gold this Pacific Games if we employ advanced and proper preparations,” Afuga said.
Many FSII members supported the call and urged the country’s national federations to start promotions, fundraisings, selections, training – physical and mental.
“Other countries only send athletes who have gone through good preparations and standthe chance to win gold medals. It’s time we adopt such a system. Send only the A class athletes and not the B and C categories, who are nothing but tourists”, a member posted.
Meanwhile FSII called on NOCSI to put its house in order as we approach the Pacific Games.
“NOCSI must be tasked to seriously deal with sporting federations and teams that do not meet minimum standard requirements. They need to be advised accordingly, otherwise we will be sending more tourists than athletes,” a member said.
But Afuga said in order for that to be done, NOCSI must first set the house in order.
Others call for good sizable teams to avoid wasting money on large contingents.
“It’s better to send a small number of teams than big and costly teams with very little chances of winning gold,” the members added.
Another member and senior citizen said it has always been a practice in the past that teams have been continually sent to regional tournaments despite being ill-prepared.
“This practice must stop. We can’t afford to keep sending athletes overseas for the sake of gaining experience. We have done that time and time again but we haven’t seen any improvements in that particular sport.
“Only athletes with a reasonable chance of winning medals should be sent. Others who fail to meet the set criterions should never be sent, instead they should remain home and be assisted to improve their standards”, they said.
“Sending large contingents overseas with poor results is a total waste of money. Money spent on these large contingents should be used to improve local facilities”, Afuga added.
FSII understands that the top hotel in the country, the Heritage Park Hotel has offered its state of the Art Night Club, Club HP for free for any interested local sporting Federations who may want to raise funds for the Pacific Games.
“The Heritage Park Hotel management has offered its state of Art Night Club for free, yet only one sporting federation had used that opportunity and only once. Why are we so reluctant to maximize the club’s usage when permission has already been granted?
Afuga reminded all sporting federations eyeing the PG to make use of this opportunity.
“Raising necessary funds for the Games next year in PNG is basic stuff one may argue, but it is crucial and catalyst for athletes’ preparations and performances,” Afuga concluded.
By FSII News