Thursday, 13 December 2007 9:47 AM

Australia Supports North Malaita Christmas Games

The Australian High Commission's Office in Solomon Islands will support this year's North Malaita Christmas games.

Games will be held from 17-19 December, followed by a soccer and netball coaching workshop, which will be held after the games in January 2008.

The Games and Coaching will be coordinated by the Taobaita Authority for Research and Development (TARD).

Speaking at a ceremony to hand over a cheque to organisers of the games, TARD Project Coordinator, Exsley Taloiburi, said he was very pleased Australia could support the games again this year.

He said that those involved in the games last year would remember that Australia also provided funds, balls, referees, and prizes.

Mr. Taloiburi said he was "very pleased" that Australia could again support activities in North Malaita.

He said the games and coaching aims to promote social interaction, unity and community sports awareness in the North Malaita and Lau/Baelelea constituencies this Christmas.

Mr. Taloiburi said TARD would be organising the coaching workshops in partnership with two Mahitahi Catholic Volunteers from New Zealand.

Third Secretary, Gabrielle Stewart, at the handover ceremony, said that Australia was committed to building peace in communities and a good way of doing this was by hosting sports events that involve many people from many villages.

Ms. Stewart said Australia was proud to sponsor a sporting event which included both men and women to participate and do their best.

Ms. Stewart noted that the soccer and netball coaching would also run at the same time as running/swimming coaching, provided by Australian Volunteer, Hilton Williams, who is working in Solomon Islands to assist the Triathlon Solomon Islands team.

Australia is also supporting the Dr. Becher Christmas Cup in AvuAvu, Guadalcanal, through the Australian Sports Outreach Program, a program aimed at building up the capacity of sports institutions to involve more people in sport more often.

Australia also recently sponsored the Honiara Sports for Persons with Disabilities Games which involved over 80 people with disabilities in a wide range of activities last month, 28-29 November.