WHEN Papua New Guinea won the bid for the 2015 Pacific Games last Sunday 13 bid committee members including Mel Donald and Sir John Dawanincura, breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Their government had spent US$300,000 (K1 million) on the chance they would win and eight months of work to pitch for the games hosting rights at the Pacific Games Council general assembly.
On the same day PNG’s capital Port Moresby won the bid over Tonga which pitched the slogan ‘One Ocean, One Dream’ for its bid.
Bid committee member and treasurer of the PNG sports federation, Tamzin Wardley, explained to the media yesterday that the high cost of putting a bid together reflected the changing times.
She said PNG had a large spend on its bid because it had flown in members of the games country’s sports associations to Port Moresby to check out the proposed venues.
Wardley said by comparison PNG’s bid for the 1991 games was a two-page document – today it is the first country to bid under a more strict games charter and a typical bidding document is hefty.
And so is the budget.
The PNG government has already approved US$105 million (K330 million) to host the event.
Wardley says apart from a tougher charter to comply with, there has been a history of games hosting countries suffering from “undue government interference” in the event operations.
The organisational structure PNG prepared for the 2015 operation of the games attempts to avoid this problem and Wardley believes the Pacific Games Council board saw the importance of this.
PGC president Vidhya Lakhan has certainly expressed the wish for the games standards to be lifted to bring more recognition to the Pacific Games.
Lakhan issued several warnings to the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) during preparations for the games saying the PGC would cease to tolerate internal conflict and government interference.
Now PNG hopes to up the game come 2015 and attain a new higher standard.
Wardley says PNG now has three months to create a games company and an organising committee and expects a visit from the PGC board in six months to check on planning for 2015.
Wardley is chef de mission for the PNG team preparing for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Dehli, India.