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PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR 2015 PACIFIC GAMES

PRESS RELEASE – The President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidhya Lakhan, accompanied by PGC Executive Director, Andrew Minogue, are visiting Port Moresby this week to assess the state of preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games.

This visit was timed as a follow-up to the PGC General Assembly held in early July where the full PGC Executive Board as well as delegates from each of the 22 participating countries inspected the facilities being constructed to host the 2015 Pacific Games and received detailed briefings from the 2015 Pacific Games Organising Committee (GOC) on their plans to deliver a successful event.

During the July visit, the PGC urged all stakeholders to redouble efforts to get the Games venues finished well in advance of July 2015 in order to allow the GOC sufficient time to take possession of the venues, test them, and install the necessary overlay, technology and other services required to deliver successful competitions at the Games. Meeting this objective would also allow the athletes of Papua New Guinea time to familiarize themselves with the venues before competing for their country at the Games. The on-field success of the home team is always a leading indicator of a successful Pacific Games.

Specifically, the PGC requested that a process be implemented where the VIEC’s venue delivery timelines be assessed and fully integrated with the GOC’s needs to take possession of the venues with sufficient time to deliver the Games successfully.

This week’s visit was planned to assess the progress of this integration process so that final decisions could be made as to where each sport will be conducted during the Games.

During the week, the PGC President and Executive Director attended the Pacific Games Authority meeting, and the weekly Games stakeholders meeting, both chaired by Mr Kostas Constantinou. A comprehensive tour of all of the main Games venues was also undertaken and follow up meetings were then held with representatives of the VIEC, GOC and PNG Olympic Committee.

Whilst the PGC has been concerned for several years at the chronic delays and lost time involved in the construction program for the Games venues, very significant progress has been made in the construction program over the past four months.

As a result, the PGC remains confident that the Games will proceed as scheduled and that each of the 28 sports will have a suitable field of play. Adequate contingency plans for the location of Netball and Table Tennis have been made by the GOC and the PGC supports the activation of this plan.

However, the overall success of the 2015 Games and the positive image the Games will portray of Papua New Guinea remains in the balance. The PGC accepts that some Games venues will not be fully completed in advance of the Games and will require some final construction works once the Games are completed.

All stakeholders must now accept this reality and arrangements made for the hand-over of clean, secure and safety certified venues to the GOC by next May at the latest so that Pacific Games competitions are not seen to be being conducted inside construction zones and that the safety of the athletes within the venues is assured.

This process of venue delivery integration which PGC requested in July has commenced but has not been completed. It must now be fast-tracked and finished.

We expect further significant progress in the construction program will be evident when the PGC returns in early February, and the Chefs de Mission from each of the 22 participating countries visit next March. By early February, the PGC also expects the GOC will have total certainty and confidence in the agreed hand-over program.

Mr Lakhan noted the positive changes that have occurred since July and in particular commended the tireless work of Chairman Kostas Constantinou and the GOC.

Mr Lakhan said, “Recent developments have gone another step towards satisfying the Council that Papua New Guinea will be ready to host the Pacific Games in 2015. The Council’s confidence levels continue to improve, but critically important work remains to be done to guarantee a successful Pacific Games in 2015. The GOC, supported by the PNG Olympic Committee, will deliver a successful Games if the venues are provided to them in a timely manner”.

“I urge the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Minister responsible for the Games, to continue their efforts to ensure that all stakeholders, especially government departments and statutory bodies, work together and with a renewed sense of urgency to bring the final preparations for the 2015 Pacific Games to a positive conclusion”.

“There is no reason, given Papua New Guinea’s rich and proud heritage of participation in the Pacific Games and having hosted the event so successfully twice before, that this immediate objective cannot be obtained”.

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