Written by OAA Life Member Bob Snow.
With much of the infrastructure in place following Samoa’s successful staging of the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games, Samoa is well on the way to completing the facilities for the Pacific Games.
Centrepiece of the Games will be Apia Park, the venue for the Opening & Closing Ceremonies and the Athletics.
At present the venue has been closed down to allow for the upgrading of the facility, and it will not come back into use until June 2019, the month before the Games.
In early October Oceania Athletics conducted a workshop/course for prospective officials for the July 2019 Games. The course was conducted by Geoff Gardner, the President of OAA / IAAF Council Member, and Yvonne Mullins, the Executive Director of OAA. In attendance were Jerry Brunt, President of Samoa Athletics and Ah Chong Sam Chong, Coaching Director.
Following on from the successful Vanuatu experience of sending their athletes to China for four months last year, Samoa has accepted the Chinese offer to do the same with their athletes next year. At present the extensive selection process is underway as all potential athletes are being assessed prior to the final release of the travelling squad. It seems as though Samoa will send between 50 and 80 athletes to be prepared in China. It is thought that Vanuatu will once again send their squad, and there is talk of them being joined by the Solomon Islands’ squad.
After a side-trip to American Samoa, Geoff and Yvonne held a meeting with the Manager of the Samoan Sports Facilities Association, about the use of facilities and equipment in the lead-up to the July 2019 Pacific Games.
Apia Park before the work commenced on the renovation and refurbishment of all of the facilities. OAA President, Geoff Gardner, with Athletics Samoa President, Jerry Brunt, and executive members Dengue Soolalole and Ah Chong Sam Chong.