Pacific Games Council (PGC) are positive about the progress being made by Solomon Islands 2023 as they prepare to stage the next edition of the Pacific Games, but admit organizers have a key year as they seek to finalize venue plans and funding.
Solomon Islands 2023 will receive the PGC flag tomorrow from the Samoa 2019 at the Closing Ceremony of the 16th Pacific Games.
Attention will then firmly turn toward the Solomon Islands’ preparations, with the country set to host the event for the first time.
The Games will take place in the capital city Honiara.
PGC chief executive Andrew Minogue said organisers find themselves in a different situation to Samoa 2019, where many venues were existing after previous Pacific Games and the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games.
“They [Solomon Islands] have to build a lot of their facilities from scratch,” Minogue told insidethegames.
“They have some facilities, but not a lot.
“They are on a countdown really over the next year to get the funding secured and get donor agencies who are going to provide it, and get the venue plans secured.
“If they can do that there are schools, colleges and universities there, the athletes will be able to be accommodated.
“It is not a big place, so getting around there will not be difficult.
“They have some tourism due to diving and snorkelling.
“For us it is about the venues, if they get the venues it will be okay.”
Solomon Islands 2023 last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Fu Tsu construction company over the development of the National Stadium.
The agreement built on a similar MoU signed in March which confirmed funding from Taiwan and Fu Tsu's involvement in designing and constructing the National Stadium.
Under the terms of the first agreement, it was confirmed Fu Tsu would be responsible for the design of an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standard venue.
The facility will have a maximum capacity of 12,000 people, which is deemed to make it suitable for the Games while ensuring easy maintenance.
The swimming pool for the Games is the next key venue organisers will have to confirm plans for, along with tennis courts.
“At the moment it is looking fairly positive, with Taiwan acting as their donor and committing to build the main stadium,” Minogue said.
“This would have the athletics, ceremonies and football.
“It will be a synthetic pitch as football is their national sport.
“I think for maintenance and having a pitch they can use for a long time, day and night, they are going with the synthetic pitch.
“We will take some of the throwing events next door when the athletics is run there.
“There are a couple of existing halls and an existing football complex, so we can run football at two sites.
“The big ones that have to be done are the pool, a couple of indoor facilities and tennis courts.
“There is quite a bit left to be done.”
Solomon Islands 2023 claimed last week they were hopeful of having agreements secured in the next six months, which would enable construction work to get underway.
Organizers expressed their hope the venues would be completed in 2022, enabling athletes to begin using facilities in final countdown to the Games.
The Games will feature 24 sports, with the PGC having introduced a gap from the 2023 event onwards.
This will see a reduction of two sports from Samoa 2019.
The compulsory sports include athletics, basketball, boxing, football, golf, judo, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis and triathlon.
Rugby sevens, sailing, swimming, volleyball - both indoor and beach - weightlifting and Va’a – a canoeing discipline – are also compulsory.
Eight optional sports will also feature.