Government is grateful for the spirit of good sportsmanship and success demonstrated by Team Solomon Islands to the Pacific Mini Games, PMG, in the Cook Islands.

The team returned home over the weekend with three gold, six silver and one bronze.

At a thanksgiving service in Honiara today, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Fred Fakari'i spoke of the fine achievement by members of the team.

But he says the country needs to work on a lot of areas in order to prepare athletes well for future sporting competitions.

He says the two athletes, Betty Babalu and Chris Votu who won the 3 gold medals for Solomon Islands in the PMG did not train on modern running tracks.

Mr Fakari'i says Solomon Islands would have won more medals if athletes were given better training facilities and coaches.

Referring to 12 year old golden girl Babalu, Mr Fakari'i says she did her training for the PMG in an empty space behind the shops of Auki town.

Mr Fakari'i says government will continue to pursue a policy which promotes the building of sporting infrastructure and to up-lift local coaching skills.

He says regular sporting competitions should be encourage at the community, provincial and national levels to improve the athlete's level of performance

Mr Fakari'i says this requires the cooperation of government and all sporting federations.

Meanwhile, national long distance runner Chris Votu who snatched 2 gold and a bronze medal in Rarotonga says he owe his victory to his supporters both at home and in the Cook Islands.

Speaking to SIBC, Votu says he went to the PMG with the intention of winning gold.

He says although he did not win gold in the half marathon race, because of tiredness and less time to rest after two major events, he was happy to win bronze.

Votu says he was also intending to run for gold in the 5 thousand metre event, but he missed out due to a change in the scheduling of the event.

He says had more athletes been given the chance to attend the PMG, Team Solomon Islands would have returned with more medals.

Votu says for now he is focusing on the coming Guadalcanal half marathon.

Votu who won gold in the 3 thousand metre steeple chase and the 10 thousand metre event encourages other young Solomon Islanders to take part in athletics.