A ground-breaking ceremony was held on the Pacific Games project ©Solomon Islands 2023

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has participated in the ground-breaking ceremony for the 2023 Pacific Games stadiums project in Honiara.

The overall project will see the construction of seven major sporting facilities.

This will include a new $53 million (£38 million/€45 million) 10,000-capacity National Stadium, with 1,000 VIP seats.

The venue will be the centrepiece of the first Pacific Games to be staged in the Solomon Islands.

An aquatics centre will also be constructed with a 50-metre competition pool, as well as a 25m training pool.

A six-court tennis centre, a track for athletics with a full-size football and rugby field, and a multi-purpose hall will be built.

The project also includes a five-a-side hockey field, a double-story food court and office space for the Games Organising Committee.

The stadiums project is being funded and constructed by China, which the Solomon Islands Government says is one of the largest infrastructure projects supported by the country in a Pacific Island nation.

China is reportedly funding a further four development projects in the Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands had originally reached an agreement in July 2019 with Taiwan to build the facilities, including the National Stadium.

Relations between the two countries broke down by the end of 2019, with the Pacific nation shifting its diplomatic allegiance to China instead.

Now just 15 nations recognise Taiwan as a sovereign nation.

The National Stadium and an aquatics centre are key parts of the project ©Solomon Islands 2023
The National Stadium and an aquatics centre are key parts of the project ©Solomon Islands 2023

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Sogavare thanked the Chinese Government for its support at the ground-breaking ceremony.

"For this wonderful gift to the people of Solomon Islands, I convey my sincere gratitude to the President, the government, and people of the People’s Republic of China," Sogavare said.

"To all our sports people in the country, to all our youths, and to all the sports federations represented here this morning, these facilities belong to you - to use and enjoy, to build and harness your skills, to develop your talents in-order to be the best sports people you can be," he said.

Sogavare claimed the Solomon Islands will have one of the best sporting and community facilities in the Pacific when the facilities are completed.

The Prime Minister insists the sustainable venues will be used for grassroots and high-performance sport, as well as community events.

Sogavare expressed hope the Pacific Games could help to strengthen the nation, following the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.