NCD Governor Powes Parkop has called on all Papua New Guineans to prepare to host the 2015 Pacific Games.
He said as a major sporting showpiece in the region, every Papua New Guinean must take ownership of the event on their home soil and ensure the people’s interest and aspirations are served through this medium.
PNG secured the right to host the games after member associations of the Pacific Games council voted 25-20 in favour of PNG to host the games.
Tonga was the other country whose bid went before the PFC’s consideration at the meeting in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, yesterday.
Solomon Islands initially submitted a bid for the games but withdrew it last month.
Governor Parkop said there was a lot of work to do in order to meet the needs of the Pacific Games in 2015 in PNG.
The chairperson of the bidding committee Mel Donald, Minister for Community Development Dame Carol Kidu, secretary-general of the PNG Sports Federation Sir John Dawanincura and Governor Parkop, who were all in Rarotonga for the news, were delighted and elated at the outcome of the vote.
The National was told yesterday that the bidding team could not contain their elation at the success of their bid.
An official said the bid committee were over the moon in that the victory reflected the patriotic and bipartisan support of the PNG National Parliament who backed the multi-million kina package in support of the bid and the preparations to host it.
“It is my pleasure to announce that the XV Pacific Games will be held in Papua New Guinea,” the president of the Pacific Games Council Vidhya Larkan announced in Rarotonga yesterday.
Eight months of hard work by the bid committee has paid off, bid committee chairman Donald said.
It was an emotional rollercoaster that brought Sid Yates, a member of the bid committee to tears in the sombre conference room.
“We were confident. We never once focused on Tonga’s bid. We knew what we wanted and we went into the final bid presentation ready and knowing that we had done everything we could do to give PNG the best possible chance of winning the bid,” Donald said.
“Fantastic team effort from both Government and opposition as well as the bid team, who worked tirelessly to secure the games.
“We did it for the youth of the nation and just as important to promote national unity.”
PNGSF secretary general Sir John said that this was the way to leaving some very positive legacy for the future.
“The Pacific Games will now act as the lighthouse for our sportsman and women to aspire for during the national games in November,” volleyball administrator Kila Dick said yesterday, as he welcomed the news of PNG’s successful bid.
“It will the added incentive for our athletes to aim for at the our home games,” he said.
He said focus should also be directed at infrastructure development and upgrading sporting facilities in the country in order to better prepare for the hosting of the Pacific Games in 2015.
PNG hosted the former South Pacific Games in 1969 and 1991.
The last one saw PNG top the medal count as the nation fielded its biggest number of athletes in these games than ever before.