17 Jan 2015

Sport: Over 3000 athletes expected at Pacific Games

11:09 am on 17 January 2015

The addition of Australia and New Zealand to this year's Pacific Games looks likely to tip athlete numbers past the 3000 mark.

The Trans-Tasman neighbours have accepted an invitation to enter teams in taekwondo, weightlifting, sailing and rugby sevens in Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, in the first step towards an expanded Continental Games.

Two-thousand seven hundred athletes competed in New Caledonia four years ago and the Executive Director of the Pacific Games Council, Andrew Minogue, says adding Australia and New Zealand to the mix, plus an extra sport, means a bigger turnout is on the cards.

"I think the issue now is just how many athletes they will bring in each of the sports. If we take, for example, weightlifting where the Pacific Games is actually a formal qualification event for the Rio Olympics so you would expect in that sport we'll have a very good contingent of Australian and New Zealand athletes coming. Some of the other sports they're invited to we'll just have to see as we get close to the time what the numbers are but the commitment from both Olympic Committee's has been very positive. They're very grateful to receive the invitation and have accepted it with open arms."

The Pacific Games open on July the 4th.