Olympics | SPORTS

Pacific Advance Party Leaves Rio

Oi (Bula) from the Rio Olympic Village. It is time to sign off from Rio as the Olympic Village is almost deserted. Of the 15 Pacific Island nations that came
25 Aug 2016 12:59
Pacific Advance Party Leaves Rio
Pacific’s chef de missions at their farewell gathering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo: ONOC

Oi (Bula) from the Rio Olympic Village. It is time to sign off from Rio as the Olympic Village is almost deserted.

Of the 15 Pacific Island nations that came to Rio 2016 with a combined contingent of little less than 250 athletes and officials, only a handful remain. The village closes today in Rio.

Also this will see the departure of the remaining Fijian, Cook Islands, Nauru and Palau contingents.

Checking out are Guam, Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga. All the teams just cannot wait to get back home after a month in Rio.

Today Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) staff of Natanya Potoi Ulia, Sainimili Talatoka and Mike Kohn also head home via Panama, Los Angeles and Fiji. We part company with Mike in LA as he’ll head home to Guam.

We are what they call the advance party, first in, last out.

We entered the village when it opened on July 24 to set-up the Oceania office- especially for the 15 Pacific Islands of American Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The rationale is to work together collectively as a region, which is something unique to the Olympic Movement.

At the final chef de missions meeting on Sunday morning, the Pacific Island grouping led by Cook Islands chef de mission Robert Graham presented gifts to the Rio organising committee.

The gesture was witnessed by chef de missions from other regions who said they did not even thought of preparing gifts for the hosts.

This is why the Pacific will always be unique wherever they are. And the Organising Committee also handed out Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phones to the 205 chef de missions.

I hope you have enjoyed the diary from Rio this last month.

It has been packed with challenges from the word go but I hope you’ve enjoyed the write-ups, photos, images and information coming your way via the ONOC Digest facebook, the new ONOC website (www.onoc.org.fj) which is a work in progress and my personal facebook (Matai Akauola).

The daily Village Life four pager, put it this way “these were days of sport, joy and pride to write about the Games from a privileged standpoint”.

For me personally and I believe for all Pacific Islanders in Rio, we return with the good feeling and share in Fiji’s gold medal win in Rio. I like what Freddy Raiwalui said in his description of Fiji’s gold medal triumph, “only three words- I WAS THERE. “

Boa noite (good night) from Rio.


Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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