Samoa to host 26 sports at 2019 Pacific Games

Sprinters race in the men’s 100m finals during the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Athletics is one of the 16 compulsory sports in the 2019 Pacific Games that will be held in Apia, Samoa. Picture: SAIPANTRIBUNE.COM (Vanuatu 2017 Photo)

APIA – Samoa will be offering 26 sports when it hosts the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia.

Selected last year as the new host of the next year’s competition after Tonga pulled out due to financial problems, the 2019 Games will mark Samoa’s third hosting of the event.

Having stepped in a short notice to stage the Games, the Pacific Games Council has agreed that Samoa will feature two fewer sports than the 2015 Pacific Games held in Papua New Guinea.

Of the 26 events, the host will have 16 compulsory sports, including: athletics, basketball, boxing, football, golf, judo, rugby 7s, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, va’a (canoe), volleyball (beach and indoor) and weightlifting.

Triathlon and sailing will also be added to the calendar of events as agreed upon during the Pacific Games Association general assembly in 2016.

Next year will also be the last time that Pacific Games will have 26 sports, as the council will only allow 24 events, beginning in 2023 “to maintain the sustainability and affordability of the Games.”

Next year’s competition in Samoa will follow the original schedule set by Tonga, with the Games running from 8th to 20th July.

Having started competing in the Pacific Games in 2015, Australian and New Zealand will still be invited to participate but will be limited to field athletes in eight sports.

In advance of the 2023 Pacific Games, the Solomon Islands Government has secured the land required to construct a national stadium.

Negotiations for the land in capital Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal, have been delayed for nearly a year, but an agreement has now been reached for a site located near the King George VI Secondary School and the University of the South Pacific – where the athletes’ villages will be located.

Commenting on the site, Pacific Games Council (PGC) Chief Executive Andrew Minogue told Radio New Zealand “it’s always made a lot of sense to have the main hub of the Games – your main stadium, your athletics track and so on – in those grounds.”

A location for the Games’ swimming venue is expected to be the next major challenge for organisers.

The Solomon Islands will become the seventh nation to host the Games, which take place every four years.