Vanuatu sports officials insisted sport had expanded despite COVID-19 ©VASANOC

Matthias Boe has been appointed as sport and development officer for Vanuatu as the country reported an "expansion of sport on a national scale," despite COVID-19.

Boe’s appointment was announced at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Vanuatu Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (VASANOC) by chief executive James Malau.

Boe, who lives in the capital Port-Vila, is also an artist whose paintings have been exhibited and succeeds David Lolo who resigned last year.

"His main objectives  will be to grow sports, especially in achieving the VASANOC Missions," VASANOC said. 

"He will also assist in any related activities and programness developed by National Federations that are aligned with VASANOC Plan 2021-2024."

Boe and Malau are expected to convene meetings with individual sports representatives in the coming weeks.

Officials from 13 sports attended the AGM where they  insisted they were "working on solution to adapt and provide the best preparation for the athletes," after training had been hampered since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They reported that programmes had been introduced for sports development, gender equality and working in schools.

Vanuatu sent a team of three athletes to the re-arranged Olympics in Tokyo last year, but withdrew from the Paralympics because of restrictions related to COVID-19.

They are set to compete at the the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which is due to take place between July 28 and August 8. 

Vanuatu's team is expected to include a women’s beach volleyball pairing.

Vanuatu are drawn against host nation England, Scotland and the Solomon Islands in their preliminary pool.

Para shot putter Elie Enock has also qualified for the Games and  is also classified in powerlifting.

Last week, Simon Charley won 10,000 metres bronze medal at the Oceania Athletics championship at Mackay in Queensland in Australia.

Jack Nasawa who competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, finished fifth in the Javelin.

Both are expected to be among the Vanuatu athletes to compete in five sports at the Northern Marianas Mini Pacific Games in Saipan which are scheduled to open on Friday (June 17).