26 Jun 2017

Sport: Fiji says no to hosting 2019 Pacific Games

2:54 pm on 26 June 2017

Fiji has ruled itself out of the running to replace Tonga as host of the 2019 Pacific Games.

Tonga were awarded hosting rights in 2012 but last month the Prime Minister, 'Akilisi Pohiva, pulled the government's support, initially citing financial reasons but then saying his government had other priorities.

The President of the Fiji Olympic Committee, Joe Rodan Senior, said the FANSAOC Board discussed a possible bid before deciding against it.

"For two years [until the Games begin] it's too short a time for us to really prepare our organising committee or organising officials to host the Games," he said.

"We might have some of the facilities - we probably have most of the facilities - but our issue would be training our minor sports to host such a big meet.

"[A lead in of] two years is a very short term for us, we would prefer four years so we can prepare really well for the Games and make it really, really successful."

Fiji sprinter Sisilia Seavula.

Fiji has ruled itself out of hosting the 2019 Pacific Games. Photo: FASANOC

The Pacific Games Council has given Tonga until the end of June to change its mind but said it had already been approached by other countries interested in taking over.

Joe Rodan Senior said he would still like to see the 2019 Games remain in Tonga.

"We were all hoping that Tonga would host the Games, all of us are hoping for that because it would be good for the development of sports in Tonga and it gives the youth the opportunity to compete with the best and also showcase what sports is all about," he said.

"It also gives Tonga an opportunity to build a lot of complex which normally is donated by larger countries. We've seen that happen over the years where countries that host Games have been given sporting complex which they wouldn't have had if they didn't have the Games."

Tahiti lost out to Tonga and Solomon Islands in the bidding process for the 2019 and 2023 Pacific Games but has yet to confirm any further interest,

Samoan Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, hinted at a possible bid in May, saying his government always stood ready to host international sporting events because of the capabilities and the quality of sporting facilities constructed for the 2007 Pacific Games.

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