BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
In a decisive stride toward the upcoming Pacific Games 2023 (PG2023), the National Hosting Authority (NHA) is initiating the handover process of all the essential facilities to the Games Organising Committee (GOC) throughout this month. The move signifies a pivotal juncture in the preparations for the highly anticipated event.
Dr Jimmie Rogers, the Chair of the NHA and Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office disclosed this crucial development during a recent episode of the SIBC Radio talk-back show on the 6th of August. The handover process will see key facilities for the PG2023 transition into the care and management of the GOC over the upcoming weeks.
The foremost phase of this transfer is set for the 18th of August, a mere two weeks away, during which the NHA will officially pass on responsibility for the National Stadium projects. This comprehensive handover encompasses diverse venues such as the aquatic centre, tennis courts, multipurpose hall, hockey pitch, and administration building. Dr Rogers elaborated, “In this phase, we have the multipurpose hall and hockey pitch located in eastern Honiara. The track has already been transferred, but it’s an integral component of this handover. Moving to the western Honiara, the administration building houses a cafeteria and offices.”
The momentum will continue with the DC Park Water Sports Centre, funded by Australia, which will be transferred to the GOC on the 25th of August, merely a week after the National Stadiums’ handover. Dr Rogers emphasized that the final handover phase will feature the three dormitory buildings situated at the Solomon Islands National University’s Kukum Campus, expected to occur in the second week of October.
From this point forward until the culmination of the PG2023 Games, the GOC will oversee the operational management of these facilities. Dr Rogers underscored that this span entails a wide array of responsibilities, including accommodation, transportation, and ensuring a memorable experience for participants and spectators alike. Moreover, special attention will be given to medal ceremonies, adding to the significance of the event.
In conjunction with these handovers, the NHA is actively assessing the Solomon Islands Football Federation Academy (SIFFF) at the Old Taiwan Farm. Following this evaluation, a formal handover is anticipated in the early weeks of September, coinciding with an official visit by the FIFA President.
An especially significant prelude to the Games’ imminent launch will be the forthcoming visit of the FIFA President on the 14th of August. Orchestrated by the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF), this occasion will coincide with a soft launch of the SIFF Academy, marking a remarkable moment for the country.
Beyond the logistics, Dr Rogers accentuated the pivotal role of the GOC in steering the Games’ trajectory. Following the grand Opening Ceremony on the 19th of November, the GOC will take the reins of various activities including participant reception, catering, transportation, and the ceremonial honouring of medalists, collectively aiming to orchestrate a triumphant Pacific Games experience.
Anticipating the imminent Games, the NHA has arranged a special thanksgiving service for the community in the second week of September at St. Barnabas Cathedral, fostering unity and a sense of purpose as the event approaches. As the Games draw nearer, a commissioning service for athletes is scheduled for the second week of November, followed by an additional thanksgiving service on the 10th of November, symbolizing unity and shared national pride.
The build-up to the PG2023 Games will culminate in a celebratory function hosted by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. This gathering, likely to occur between the 13th and 14th of December, will serve as an occasion to recognize the contributions of all stakeholders and mark the formal conclusion of the PG2023.
Lastly, as the Games conclude on the 2nd of December, the NHA is set to hand over all the facilities to the National Sports Council (NSC), ensuring their continued maintenance and utilization beyond the event, thereby forging a legacy of sporting infrastructure for the Solomon Islands.