12 Dec 2018

Sport: Samoan church to house Pacific Games attendees

4:57 pm on 12 December 2018

The Methodist Church of Samoa's Faleula compound will be used to accommodate athletes and team officials at next year's Pacific Games.

Methodist Church, Faleula, Samoa.

Methodist Church, Faleula, Samoa. Photo: Facebook / Alesi Kurisaru

The announcement from the Pacific Games Office comes after it confirmed plans last month to accomodate attendees in hotels.

When not enough hoteliers agreed to support the games, officials were forced to activate contingency plans and approached the church's president and board.

Samoa's Sports Minister, Loau Keneti Sio, said the request was positively received despite the July games clashing with the church's Annual Conference.

"The Games Organising Committee acknowledges the support of the Methodist Church of Samoa Board in making special allowances to help accommodate athletes and team officials," he said.

"When the request was sent, the board did not hesitate to answer the call and we are thankful for the spirit they have come in. Hosting athletes and team officials within the Faleula compound not only helps to alleviate our transport and security services, it will make these games extra special.

"The Pacific Games is not only about sports but also about building bonds between our Pacific nations. Being based within a Samoan village environment will provide insight and appreciation into our Samoan way of doing things. We're really excited about the partnership."

Samoa's Sports Minister, Loau Keneti Sio.

Samoa's Sports Minister, Loau Keneti Sio. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hotels will still be used to accommodate more than 1000 technical officials, delegates, weightlifting and boxing athletes, which equates to about one quarter of the total numbers expected in Samoa for the games from July 7-20.

A Memorandum of Agreement was signed last month between the Samoa Government and accommodation providers in Upolu and Savai'i but to date only four hotels in Salelologa and 30 hotels in Upolu have signed up, providing approximately 1300 beds.

Loau said the Pacific Games Office was completing a final vetting process before confirming the hotels where technical officials and delegates will be staying next year.

"We recognise that our goal to host all athletes and officials in hotels was an ambitious one. But we continue to look for ways to be cost effective and meet our timeframes. We are tracking to schedule," he said.

"Government stands firm in our aim to partner together with the private sector where possible. Procurement for the Games has been busy over the past few months and will continue into the new year."

Last week, Loau said athletes would be staying in converted school classrooms.

Accommodation providers in Upolu and Savai'i signed a MoA with the Government in November.

Accommodation providers in Upolu and Savai'i signed a MoA with the Government in November. Photo: Samoa 2019 Pacific Games

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