New scheme will boost preparations for 2023 Pacific Games

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A scheme to appoint 24 sports development officers in Solomon Islands has been launched to improve preparations for the 2023 Pacific Games.

Organisers say it will provide “stronger opportunities for all stakeholders,” and could lead to more international events in the islands.

It will also try to “support and develop competitive Solomon Islands teams to ensure that the host does well in the Games.”

The scheme is to be funded by the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) and will be held in conjunction with the Pacific Games Council.

“The partnership is important, as some of the sports on the 2023 Pacific Games programme will be used as continental qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris,” said ONOC vice-president Baklai Temengil-Chilton.

A scheme had previously been in place for sports including archery, athletics, basketball, football, tennis and volleyball.

It has now been expanded to embrace 15 compulsory sports and nine optional sports in the Games.

“ONOC’s support to the Pacific Games has been through direct contributions to members and associate members, and includes, amongst other things, training, and development programmes for the athlete entourage through the flagship programme, the Oceania Sports Education Programme,” Temengil-Chilton added.

The scheme is expected to help train technical officials for the 2023 Pacific Games.

“Both the Oceania Sports Federations and their respective sports development officers will be responsible for facilitating the selection and training of technical officials to gain the necessary qualifications to manage their sport during the Games,” Temengil-Chilton said.

The scheme is also expected to offer coaches and other administrators the opportunity to obtain internationally accredited qualifications in their roles.

Areas covered will include sports medicine courses through the ONOC Medical Commission and anti-doping courses with the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organisation.

It is also expected that media training, “safe sports” areas and the establishment of athlete commissions under the Voices of the Athletes programme will also be available.

“Past experience has proven a strong legacy beyond the Games and for the Solomon Islands this would result in the development of qualified administration, coaching and technical officials for the majority of sports in the Solomon Islands,” Temengil-Chilton added.

The Pacific Games are being held in Honiara, November 19-December 2, 2023.