Samoa and Guam are in a two-horse race to host the 2019 Pacific Games after a lack of government support ruled Tahiti out of contention.
The Pacific Games Council has visited Samoa and Guam in the past fortnight to evaluate their bids but said with no government support forthcoming in Tahiti their initial expression of interest cannot be evaluated further.
The President of the Tahiti Olympic Committee, Tauhiti Nena, said they tried to persuade the administration to reconsider their decision no avail.
“We wait for a meeting because they decide in July don’t support (Tahiti hosting the Games) and we ask them to receive the Federation of Sports to explain to them that we could organise and we think that it’s a good idea to organise the Games,” he said.
“But we wait for the meeting and they don’t want to receive (them) and they don’t want to support so it’s ok, so we have approved this decision of the government”.
The President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan, and CEO, Andrew Minogue, met with the Executive Board of Guam’s Pacific Games Association, the Governor Eddie Calvo, President/CEO of the Guam Visitors Bureau, Jon Nathan Denight, the Speaker of the Guam Legislature, the Hon. Benjamin JF Cruz, as well as representatives of all sports proposed for the Games program during a two-day visit last week.
The Council said it was very impressed with the proposed sporting facilities for the event, many of which have been built since Guam last hosted the South Pacific Games in 1999 and would only require a minimal level of refurbishment to be ready to host the Pacific Games in 2019.
The Governor has agreed to fully support and underwrite the National Olympic Commttee’s proposed budget for hosting the Games, subject to the support of the Guam Legislature, which will in the coming week be approving the budget for the 2018 fiscal year which commences October 1st.
“Guam has presented a very professional expression of interest to host the 2019 Pacific Games and has demonstrated during our visit that they have the facilities and capability required to deliver a successful Games in a short space of time,” said Vidhya Lakhan.
“The support of the Governor was welcome and we trust that…we receive positive indications from the Legislature that the necessary financial arrangements will be approved in the event that Guam is awarded the Games.
“This would ensure the stability and certainty that the Pacific Games Council is seeking in the wake of the Tongan Government’s withdrawal as Games host”.
The President and CEO will now present a report to the Pacific Games Council Executive Board in time for it to make a decision and announcement on the 2019 host at the end of the week.