Games athletes to be housed in church compound

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu ,

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GAMES PLANNING: The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio.

GAMES PLANNING: The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Athletes attending the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia will stay at the Methodist compound in Faleula, due to fewer hotels signing up to the Government’s accommodation plans. However, Pacific Games officials will stay at hotels as planned by Samoa’s Pacific Games Committee. 

The change of plans was confirmed by the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Loau Keneti Sio, who is also chair of the Pacific Games Committee. 

“There has been a change of plans for the accommodation for athletes attending, this is due to the fact that not all hotels signed on with the agreement of the Pacific Games Committee,” said Loau. 

“Initially the hoteliers agreed. However, at the time when the actual signing occurred, not all of them signed the Memorandum of Understanding. And the Plan B is for the Methodist Church to have the athletes stay at the Faleula compound,” said Loau. 

Last month, Pacific Games Chief Executive Officer, Falefata Hele Matatia said over 4000 athletes will arrive in July next year for the Games. 

In support of the decision to out-source accommodation, Falefata said the arrangement is cost effective, meets the Games time frame and is also sustainable.  But more importantly for the Games Committee, he added is extra revenue for Samoa’s tourism accommodation stakeholders.

“For us, we have three principles as our main decision, defining whether its cost effective, meets our time frame and sustainable,” added the Games C.E.O. 

And Andrew Minogue, the Pacific Games Council Chief Executive is on record, saying he admires Samoa’s ingenuity.

“We have an accommodation plan for the Games, which is quite ambitious and we need to make sure it works, and it works for our host in terms of planning, especially for athletes who don’t show up.

“At the moment, more than 4500 athletes and officials are expected, and out of that number more than 3000 would be athletes,” he said. 

A total of 24 countries from across the region, including Australia and New Zealand—who have been invited to participate in eight of the sports—will travel to Samoa next year for the July 7-20, 2019 event. 

The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture has been tasked to lead with the preparations for the opening and closing ceremonies.

The Samoa Association of Sports & National Olympic Committee has already started with various workshops and training programmes to put Team Samoa in place.

For the future sustainability of the Games, Samoa 2019 will be the final edition of the Pacific Games to feature more than 24 sports, with the multi-sport event set to be capped for future editions.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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