Sarkozy to open Noumea Games

Main Stories, Sports

The National, Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FRENCH president Nicolas Sarkozy is set officially open the XIV Pacific Games in Noumea, New Caledonia, on Aug 27.
Sarkozy made the committment at during his New Year wishes to the overseas French territories on Jan 9, in Guadeloupe.
He confirmed his presence at the opening ceremony of the XIV Pacific Games.
“At the end of the summer, I shall go to New Caledonia to open the Pacific Games that are back on this territory for the first time since the events of Ouvéa.
“It will be very moving for me to see all communities marching together behind a common emblem: the double flag, recognised during the last committee of signatories.”
Pascale Bastien-Thiry, president of the Games organising committee  said the French territory was honoured to have Sarkozy as its guest of honour.
“The presence of the president of the republic for the opening ceremony is a fabulous spotlight on the Pacific Games in particular, on New Caledonia and on all countries of the Oceania in general.
“We are very happy,” he said.
The Noumea Games is set to be one of the largest editions yet in terms of cost and area with 22 countries attending including 5,000 athletes and officials participating in 27 sports spread over 37 venues in New Caledonia.
The Games will be hosted in 10 cities and villages throughout the French territory.
Meanwhile, National Capital District Governor Pawes Parkop expressed disappointment over the government’s failure to fulfil its commitment to provide K300 million in intitial fundingfor PNG to host the 2015 Pacific Games.
Parkop said last week that the government made a promise to commit at least K300 million for Port Moresby to prepare sporting facilities to host the Pacific Games in 2015 but the funds had not been released to date.
“I’ve raised this issue several times for the government to release the funds for preparation work but I haven’t seen any toea, and I don’t want to feel embarrassed and shamed in 2015,” Parkop said, adding that he had personally went to Cook Islands in 2009 to bid for PNG to host the 2015 Pacific Games and it would be a huge loss of face if the Somare government failed to meet its commitment.
He added that the money was needed to upgrade sporting facilities to a standard that would cater for an event of this magnitude where all Pacific counties would participate.
Unlike this year’s Pacific Games in New Caledonia where competition will take place all over the country, Port Moresby will host the majority of sports.
Parkop also urged athletes to prepare for this year’s Pacific Games with an eye to finishing in the top three of the medal count.
He said national federations must also take the initiative to organise and prepare athletes to participate in the Games.