French Polynesia puts name forward for 2023 Pacific Games
French Polynesia has announced its intention to bid for the 2023 Pacific Games and plans to spend 150 million US dollars on venues and equipment if successful.
French Polynesia wants to host the 2023 Pacific Games and has already received the backing of the French Government.
Tahiti last hosted the Games in 1995 and was beaten by Tonga in the bidding process for the 2019 event.
Kevin Kucsera from the French Polynesian Sports Ministry told Vinnie Wylie the territory has been waiting a long time for the Pacific Games to return.
KEVIN KUCSERA: We lost the bid in 2013 so that was a priority to bid for the next Games in 2023. Last time was in 1995 and was a very popular and successful event so the population is willing to get the Games back. We think 2023 is the time.
VINNIE WYLIE: What have you learnt from the lost bid process against Tonga, who of course will host in 2019. Have you done anything differently this time around or do you intend to?
KK: To be fair we didn't really understand the choice but maybe the fact that Tonga had never held the Games so it had to be a first time. Every nation, every country has the right to bid and they won the bid so it was the first time for Tonga so we were quite happy about that, because all the time it's always the same nations: PNG, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Fiji - always the big Pacific nations - so it's a good thing, in a way, that Tonga won the bid.
VW: Having hosted the Games previously, would there be a lot of new infrastructure that would have to be built?
KK: We will have to build some new facilities and refurbish most of them because they're quite old, that's the problem. Most of the facilities are 40 to 50 years old now. They were built for the very first Pacific Games here in Tahiti back in 1971 and in 1995 nothing new was built but now we are working on a big construction project here to build some new stadiums. We are talking about investing 120 to 150 million US dollars, and obviously this money will come from France and maybe we will have support form other countries but our main support is France.
VW: Is there any idea what sort of sports you would have involved - obviously you can choose to include some and exclude other ones?
KK: Yeah obviously here in Tahiti surfing is one of the main sports here. It's not part of the Games in PNG, which is a shame for us because we always win the gold medal. It's just an example but we are strong in paddling, we are strong in taekwondo and it's a good thing that Australia and New Zealand are joining the competition in taekwondo so our athletes will compete against the best in the region. We are very strong in taekwondo, paddling and boxing and surfing so those sports are our main goals for the Games
VW: And when would the vote be made?
KK: So next year is the official bid - we give them the bid document and everything they need to know - and then for the Mini Games in Vanuatu [in 2017] the decision will be made and we will know.
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