Nine former and current athletes have been selected as Solomon Islands 2023 ambassadors ©Solomon Islands 2023

Weightlifter Jenly Tegu Wini and Para shot putter Hellen Saohaga are among nine former and current athletes that have been named as Solomon Islands’ ambassadors for this year’s Pacific Games.

The Solomon Islands 2023 Organising Committee has launched the "Sol2023 Games Ambassadors Programme" with eight months to go until the multi-sport event is due to open.

Wini, a Pacific Games champion at Port Moresby 2015 and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist at Gold Coast 2018 has been selected as an ambassador as well as Saohaga who made history when she became her nation’s first Paralympic athlete at London 2012.

Other former athletes named as ambassadors include sprinter Jim Marau, distance runners Chris Votu and Primo Higa and boxer Joseph Saimei.

Former footballers turned coaches Batram Suri and Timothy Inifiri have also been selected along with tennis player Junior Benjamin.

The ambassadors have been tasked with the responsibility of informing communities around the country about the Pacific Games and inspiring young Solomon Islanders to participate in sports.

"The ambassadors are representatives of every one of our provinces," said Solomon Islands 2023 chief executive Peter Stewart.

"They are elite level athletes who not only aspire to participate at the highest level, but have fulfilled and achieved their potentials in reaching the pinnacle of their sporting careers.

Weightlifter Jenly Tegu Wini claimed bronze at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images
Weightlifter Jenly Tegu Wini claimed bronze at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games ©Getty Images

"They are a full representation of Solomon Islands and of what Solomon Islands can do and achieve in sports.

"We are looking to inspire particularly the young children of Solomon Islands.

"The next generation of elite athletes to continue aspiring to reach the highest sporting levels they can potentially reach and achieve.

"Our ambassadors embody that aspiration.

"They are people who can stand up in front of their families, friends, the people of their communities and share their experiences, be a living testament of how one can aspire, reach and achieve the highest levels and accolades in sport they can achieve through hard work, dedication and sacrifice.

"That is what we are looking to do with our ambassadors through this programme."

Solomon Islands 2023 chairman Martin Rara added: "As Games ambassadors, you are the voice, the face, the legs of Sol2023 into the communities.

"You will be going out there as sporting icons of this country.

"Whenever people see you, they will see Sol2023 Pacific Games.

"The messages that you will pass and relay to our communities will inspire others to aspire and achieve greatness as you all have achieved."