9 Sep 2013

Sport: 2015 Pacific Games organisers in Wallis and Futuna

4:42 pm on 9 September 2013

Organisers of the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby are in Wallis and Futuna to promote their event and take a close look at the current Mini Games.

Pacific sporting officials and local dignitaries were entertained at a function in the capital Mata-Utu on Wednesday evening, and 2015 organisers will present a progress report to the Pacific Games Council's General Assembly on Sunday.

The chairperson for the 2015 Pacific Games, Emma Waiwai, told Vinnie Wylie the visit is an opportunity to showcase the PNG Games and see what does and doesn't work.

EMMA WAIWAI: We're here just to see what it's like, what the venues are like, but most importantly listen to what the issues are so that we prepare ourselves well for when the athletes and officials join us in 2015.

VINNIE WYLIE: I spoke with the sports and Pacific games minister Justin Tkatchenko about a month ago. You were behind schedule initially after winning the bid, but I understand plans are very much going at full throttle at the moment?

EW: Yes, they are. We've got Plan B, Plan C in place if we don't get all the venues up and ready before the games. We'll still have something done just so that the games can be played in those venues.

VW: And you talked about listening to the issues. Obviously here in Wallis it's a unique venue, it's a very remote venue, and a special place to hold an event like this. You've obviously got plans in place for 2015, but are you still open to ideas and all that sort of thing?

EW: The issues that come up in nearly every game are accommodation, food and transport. So Wallis is really not unique to those problems. So for us, because it's going to be a bigger games, at least we know these are still the same issues and we just need to prepare well for when they're there.

VW: Does the size of Papua New Guinea help in terms of putting these games on, in terms of having a lot of basic infrastructure there and getting yourselves ready?

EW: It does, because we're using these games as an opportunity to really build good facilities for our athletes. I think that's one of the things that's been lacking for so long. These games are really to help us build the facilities so that our athletes can start being far more competitive at the bigger regions, at the Commonwealth games and the Olympic games.

VW: Since PNG have won the bid a few years back, what have you taken out of the last Pacific games in Noumea, and of course these Mini Games right now in Wallis and Fotuna, in terms of helping you towards 2015?

EW: It's just looking at the main issues coming out from these games, looking at the sorts of venues that they have, what sort of volunteers they have, from what backgrounds they are, to look at making sure we have the right volunteers for the different roles that they need to play, and also some of the biggest concerns we had in Noumea was the food. We want to make sure that the food we provide at the games village is suitable for every athlete. So those are the issues that we're looking at right now.

VW: And what can people expect in PNG?

EW: Well, firstly, PNG is made up of almost 800 languages so that alone, you can tell there's 800 cultures. Not only that, we have 22 provinces. So what we're going to showcase is culture from the 22 provinces, which are unique. Every province is unique, every culture is unique, so that's what they can look forward to when they come in 2015.