EDITORIAL: The Battle For Hub Title Intensifies

Port Moresby has lifted the 2015 Pacific Games to a new level. Its modern facilities are the best in the region and they will no doubt be a delight to
05 Jul 2015 12:58
EDITORIAL: The Battle For Hub Title Intensifies
Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympics Vice President Finance Jerome Kado (left) and our Sports Reporter Anasilini Ratuva.

Port Moresby has lifted the 2015 Pacific Games to a new level. Its modern facilities are the best in the region and they will no doubt be a delight to the athletes.

Facilities not only benefit the athletes. They also contribute to the overall spirit and image of the competition.

Port Moresby no doubt wants to impress the sporting contingents from the various island nations. More importantly, it wants to make a statement: “We have the best in the region.” All is left now for Papua New Guinea athletes is to win the most gold and stake their supremacy. That will make it a double victory for them.

But our Fijian athletes are their biggest threat. Judging by the way our athletes have been preparing they will give the hosts a good run for their money and even deny them that glory that they earnestly seek.

The PNG government had committed 1.2billion Kina (F$920million) for the construction of sporting facilities for the Games.

That included the venues of the Games, road and communication infrastructure. The Game itself cost about 160 million Kina (F$122million) to run. PNG is not spending all this money for nothing.

The sports gold are fine. They help lift the spirit of the nation. But the bigger prize in their agenda is to be recognised as the capital or the hub of the region. That is their ultimate goal.

Their “think big” mentally, they hope, will help them win the regional battle for supremacy. Again we are their toughest rival.

They know they have the natural resources and they have the money. But they have not been able to establish themselves as the hub of the Pacific because of their continuing internal governance problem.

But this was not on the athletes’ mind as they participated in the opening ceremony at the Sir John Guise stadium yesterday.

What they saw was facilities that are better than what they have seen before.

We all know that better facilities help to produce better athletes. They also attract a positive return for investment.

Fiji spent $10million to host the then South Pacific Games in 2003 and in return raked in close to $30million in revenue.

The financial spinoff from that Games is still being felt today. Ordinary citizens are using those facilities.

The top facilities at the ANZ Stadium, Vodafone Arena, FMF Gymnasium and Damodar City Aquatic Centre have helped boost the development of sport.

Since 2003, several Fijian netball players have secured contract overseas. Several women and men have also secured basketball and volleyball contracts in other countries.

The Fijian athletes playing overseas contribute through remittances sent back home and as such are one of our country’s biggest exports and foreign exchange earners raking in $200 million in 2014.

Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana said the Fijian government would continue to invest in international standard sporting facilities to allow Fiji to host international tournaments for all sports.

Don’t be surprised that Fiji will up the ante when it’s its turn to host the Games.

The Sir John Guise Complex in Waigani is regarded as the best facility of its type in the region.

Fiji and other neighbours will try and do better than Port Moresby.

For Fiji it’s part of its national plan. Through smarter and strategic policies, it will reinforce what many already acknowledge that it is the hub of the Pacific.



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