Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill predicted today the Pacific Games gives the nation the opportunity to put itself on the sporting map, praising the organisers of the event ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday (July 4).
The build-up to the Games here has been overshadowed about questions over the readiness of some of the venues but O’Neill is optimistic, speaking of his pride at how well preparations had gone here.
“It makes me proud as a Papua New Guinean to see the work and dedication that has gone into getting our Games ready,” he said.
“These facilities have been built in record time and now we are seeing them delivered on time.
“Our Government inherited the commitments of the past Government to host the Pacific Games, and we had to honour these commitments.
“I thank all those who have put in hard work, leadership and delivery of the infrastructure for the Games.”
The Prime Minister, who has led Papua New Guinea since 2012, has embarked on an extensive tour of the venues lately.
He opened the the BSP Stadium complex last month and later visited the Taurama Aquatic Centre.
On Monday (June 29), O’Neill opened the Games Village, expected to house up to 4,000 athletes during the Games and which will then be used to house students attending the University of Papua New Guinea.
Following the arrival yesterday of the Cook Islands, several other countries checked in there today.
Following his visit to the Taurama Aquatic Centre, O’Neill claimed the venue is one of the key arenas helping provide Papua New Guinea with a legacy from the Pacific Games, insisting it was built to host future sporting events and not just competition here.
“The Taurama Sport Centre must be a centre for sporting excellence well beyond the Games, and draw athletes from around the Pacific to pursue their sporting dreams,” he said.
“Let us show leadership, not just in words but in deeds, to advance our region and help countries around the Pacific.”
Today, O’Neill, cut the ribbon at the new Rita Flynn Netball Complex before he officially opened the City Hall in Port Moresby along with other key officials, including Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko.
The unveiling of the new facility, located across the road from the BSP Stadium complex, was attended by a large group of locals desperate to catch a glimpse of their Prime Minister and other dignitaries.
The only interruption came when some of the Papua New Guinean athletes, who were scheduled to arrive earlier, drove past on their way to checking in at the Games Village.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Inside the Games.