By John Houanihau
In a significant milestone, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare introduced the Pacific Games 2023 Baton during a ceremony held at the PG2023 national stadium on Friday, August 11, 2023. With exactly 100 days remaining until the official commencement of PG2023 on November 19, 2023, the event showcased the unveiling of the baton and marked the inauguration of the 1000 baton relay.
Addressing the attendees, Hon Sogavare expressed the significance of the moment: “Today, on the 11th of August 2023, we assemble at our new national stadium to reveal the PG2023 Baton and inaugurate the 1000 baton relay. In just 100 days, this baton will re-enter our national stadium during the opening ceremony, symbolizing the commencement of the PG2023 events.”
During this period of 100 days, as the baton embarks on a journey across the nine provinces, the Games Organizing Committee (GOC) and the National Hosting Authority (NHA) will enter a critical phase of game preparation. Prime Minister Sogavare emphasized his commitment to ensuring a timely and successful preparation process. He declared, “Throughout these 100 days, I, as Chair of the National Hosting Authority, along with my board, take responsibility for any delays arising from procurement processes that might jeopardize the success of PG2023.”
The unveiling and launch of the baton signified a pivotal moment for the Solomon Islands as they approached the final stages of their journey towards the Pacific Games. Prime Minister Sogavare expressed gratitude towards Solomon Airlines for facilitating the distribution of the PG2023 baton across the nation. He also extended his appreciation to all individuals participating in the relay across the provinces. He invoked blessings for the relay teams and the baton itself as it traverses the islands, hills, mountains, valleys, oceans, and rivers, spreading joy among the communities.
“We are about to launch the baton’s journey officially. I wish for it to soar, run, and walk easily, crossing rivers and seas safely, and reaching every corner of our nation. To God be the Glory, for the great things he has accomplished. We stand united as one people, one country—the Solomon Islands. UI Tugeda for the 2023 Pacific Games. May divine blessings encompass all of you, and may the Solomon Islands thrive from coast to coast,” Prime Minister Sogavare affirmed.
Following the unveiling and launch ceremony, the PG2023 Baton was ceremoniously transported from the National Stadium to Henderson International Airport, from where it embarked on its maiden journey to the first province, Isabel. The baton will then travel through Isabel, Central Islands, Temotu, Choiseul, Kirakira, Western Province, Rennell & Bellona, Malaita, Guadalcanal, and Honiara City.
With the unveiling of the baton, the Solomon Islands takes a significant step towards the 2023 Pacific Games, symbolizing unity, determination, and the anticipation of an exceptional sporting event.