Fiji look set to launch a bid for the 2023 Pacific Games after Assistant Minister for Youth and Sports Iliesa Delana claimed they are “ready” to host future editions of the event.
Talks were held at the Oceania Sports Ministers meeting, staged here before the start of Port Moresby 2015, about the feasibility of the country hosting the event in 2023, Delana said, and the bid could become official at the end of this week.
They are set to go up against Tahiti, who lost out in the 2019 race to Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa, and are expected to put forward their proposal at the Pacific Games Council (PGC) General Assembly, which takes place here on Sunday (July 12).
“The main discussion of the meeting was how we can maintain and strengthen our relationship in the region,” Delana said.
“This was stressed by Papua New Guinea Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko.
“We made our intention clear that we are ready to host the future Pacific Games.”
Fiji, one of the largest nations in the Pacific region, has not hosted the Games since 2003 and PGC executive director Andrew Minogue admitted the development was a bit out of the blue but claimed that talk of the country’s bid for 2023 can only be positive for sport in the region.
“It did come as news to us but we had heard chatter that they may be interested,” he told insidethegames.
“Fiji is one of the central hubs of sport in the Pacific and it has been a while since they had the Games.
“It's great for the event that we have people talking about it and wanting to host our Games and we look forward to hearing what they have to say.
“We’ve heard a lot of noise from Tahiti and having two countries already showing interest shows the appeal of the Games.”
Minogue also confirmed that they had not heard of any other interested nations at this stage but that the situation would become much clearer following their General Assembly.
Countries have until six months before the PGC’s Annual General Meeting to submit a bid, with the deadline for the 2023 event likely to be sometime at the start of next year.
The PGC has 22 Member Federations, meaning candidates need a majority of 12 to be successful, and the organisation’s Executive Board do not have a vote, though they do however form an Evaluation Committee to inspect a country’s bid once a city has been chosen.
The bidding procedure was changed six years ago which gave countries a seven-year period to ensure they are ready to host the event, a process which mirrors that of the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games.
April 2015: Tahiti keen to bid again for Pacific Games, says French Polynesia Sports Minister