Sporting arena reopens to attract international events

Players try out the new look Vodafone Arena courts in Suva yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

FIJI now has another avenue of attracting more international sporting events, and functions after the reopening of the Vodafone Arena in Suva yesterday.

It was done by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. The Fiji Sports Council sports dome which was built for the 2003 South Pacific Games now has a seating capacity of 8000 from 5000 previously.

“It’s all about sports tourism,” council chief executive officer Litiana Loabuka said.

“We would love to market it to our local people and give our athletes the opportunity to use this venue and this is for them.

“We also hope we could attract more international competitions and bring events in to boost our economy.”

The venue boasts an additional indoor sporting facility on the side.

Loabuka said the venue needed to be well maintained to host many coming events.

“We are glad that we finally get to open our venue that has been closed a little over 12 months.

“We have had to spend a lot to maintain it and making sure it is in its top standard.

“After we’ve built it, we still need to put the energy and the work to these venues to make sure it stays that way and of course it is a challenge because we have patrons that come into the venues to use it on a daily basis.”

The $16.8 million project was initially planned to open in April.

“We could not open it on the scheduled date because we had to get certain materials and equipment.

“We also had to enquire with our consultants to do seismic checks on the venue to ensure the building would withstand natural disasters.”

The Vodafone Arena is now open for bookings.

The first event will be hosted by the Ministry of Education which is holding a three-day program from next Monday.

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