First record

Flag bearer Roy Krishna leads the Team Fiji contigents during the opening ceremony parade of the nations XVI Pacific Games at Apia Park in Samoa on Sunday, July 07, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

OVER 5000 athletes and team officials will participate in Samoa over the next two weeks during the 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

Pacific Games Council chief executive officer Andrew Minogue said the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games was staging 27 sports and hosting athletes from 24 countries.

“This year’s participant numbers are the highest for the Games to date,” Minogue said.

Minogue said the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games beat all previous Games participant records.

The previous record holder was New Caledonia in 2011, with a total of 4899.

Meanwhile, history will be made in rugby at the Games with a women’s event being contested for the first time alongside the men’s competition from today.

The women’s rugby league event will feature six countries — Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa teams include players who participated in 13-a-side Test matches for those countries two weeks ago — Fiji’s 28-0 defeat of PNG in Sydney, and Samoa’s 46-8 loss to the Kiwi Ferns in Auckland.

Seven nations will contest the men’s event — Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau and Tonga.

Last time out, PNG claimed gold, dominating the event, while Samoa won silver and Tonga collected bronze.

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