2007 Pacific Games
The 2007 Pacific Games were held in
Apia, Samoa. They began on 25 Augustand finished on 8 September. The Games were also known as the XIII South Pacific Games.
The Games were the thirteenth "
Pacific Games" to be held since the event's inception in 1963 and included both traditional multi-sport eventdisciplines such as athletics and swimmingtogether with region-specific and smaller events such as outrigger canoeing, surfingand lawn bowls. The principal venue for the Games was Apia Parkwith other events taking place at the Faleata Sporting Complex and around Samoa.
In comparison to the
Olympic Gameswhich are expected to generate income for the host nation, [ [http://www.cbre.com/USA/About+Us/Media+Centre/CBRE+News/Olympic+Games+Generate+New+Commerical+Real+Estate+Opportunities+in+Greece.htm Article by CBRE regarding increase to gross domestic product and real estate values as a result of the 2004 Athens Olympics] ] the 2007 Pacific Games are expected to leave Samoa US$92 million in debt, predominantly as a result of expenditure on large-scale infrastructure projects such as bridges and roads. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Games puts Samoa in debt |url=http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/s2022986.htm|work= |publisher=ABC Radio Australia |date=2007-09-03 |accessdate=2007-09-03 ]
opening ceremonyto the Games took place on 25 August 2007 at Apia Park Stadiumand was performed in a traditional Samoan and Pacific style [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=South Pacific Games opens in Apia |url=http://www.matangitonga.to/article/sports/other/sp_games_270807_0920.shtml|work= |publisher=MatangiTonga online |date=2007-08-27 |accessdate=2007-08-29 ] , welcoming some 5,000 athletes from 22 nations and territories to Samoa.
The ceremony was attended by
Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa (who also competed in the Games - "see below"), and Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Head of State. Choreographed by Samoan contemporary dancer Alan Aiolupoteacite news |first=Cherelle |last=Jackson |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Letter from Samoa: SPG opens with a bang |url=http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10461406|work= |publisher=New Zealand Herald |date=2007-09-03 |accessdate=2007-09-06 ] the ceremony featured dancing portraying the "mystical legends" from Samoa's island heritage (such as the stories of "Sina and her Eel" and " Nafanua") with a five-year old female fire dancer from Siumu Village performing a " siva afi" (or fire stick dance) accompanied by a Samoan song depicting the flow of lava following the 1905 eruptions near Savai'i being one of the showcase displays. [cite news |first=Ali |last=Tepuke |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=South Pacific Games Open in Apia, Samoa |url=http://solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nwID=553|work= |publisher=Solomon Times online |date=2007-08-27 |accessdate=2007-08-29 ]
New Zealand Idolwinner Rosita Vaisang an accompaniment to the torchlighting of the ceremonial flame by Ofisa Ofisa, a Samoan weightlifter. [http://www.samoa2007.ws "Fire, Dance and Song Bring in the Games"] from "Samoa2007.ws"]
Following a rest day on Sunday, the sporting events of the Games began on Monday, 27 August.
Participation by Samoan Prime Minister
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi competed for his country at the Games in the sport of
target archery. [http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10458420 Samoa PM draws bow for his country] from the "New Zealand Herald", 18 August 2007] In participating in the Games, the Prime Minister became the first "elected" leader to represent his country at a multi-sport event.
On day 10 of the Games, Tuilaepa won a
silver medalin the "mixed recurve team play" event. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Samoa PM wins archery silver |url=http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/southpacificgames/news/s2021663.htm |work= |publisher=ABC Radio Australia |date= |accessdate=2007-09-06 ]
Problems with equipment and the lack of multi-sport event infrastructures within the region created difficulties throughout the Games.
decathlonwas reduced to eight disciplines due to a shortage of equipment. The poles for the pole vaultwere still in Melbourneafter the ship due to deliver them was delayed by poor weather and the high jumpwas the discipline cancelled to allow the event to comply with IAAFregulations (there is no IAAF-sanctioned nine discipline event). In addition, the 1500 metre race was reduced to 1 km. [http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=34895 Gear problems in Apia see Games decathlon become an octathlon] from "Radio New Zealand International", 4 September 2007] The women's 400 metre hurdlesand men's discuswere also affected. [http://www.niufm.com/?t=3&View=FullStory&newsID=2380 Athletes feel robbed after decathlon becomes octathlon] from Niu FM, Pacific Radio News 4 September 2007]
The lack of funding and facilities for drug testing also restricted the ability of Games authorities to run a full drug testing and anti-doping programme at the Games. Only one hundred athletes (primarily in high-risk events such as
bodybuildingand weightlifting) were due to be tested as samples needed to be flown overseas from Samoa to be processed at a cost of AU$500 per sample. [ [http://www.niufm.com/?t=3&View=FullStory&newsID=2388 New Mindset needed to keep Games clean] from Niu FM, Pacific Radio News 6 September 2007]
The religious sensitivities of the host nation (which is primarily Congregationalist Christian) and other participants resulted in several controversial decisions during the organisation and running of the Games.
Athletes in the women's
beach volleyballevent were required to wear shorts and t-shirts as opposed to the regulation bikini-style outfits to avoid offending family members and other spectators.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=No bikinis for beach volleyball players |url=http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22339200-5005961,00.html|work= |publisher=Herald Sun |date=2007-08-31 |accessdate=2007-09-06 ]
A leaked internal memo by Team Samoa authorities was circulated prior to the event warning Samoan athletes not to engage in
homosexualintercourse declaring it as "ungodly", stating: "do not embarrass yourself, your family and your country by trying this in the village...Best not to even think about this. It's against the law of God!" Such activity is prohibited under Samoan law and punishable by up to five years' imprisonment. However the 'ban' on homosexual intercourse was later lifted by organising committee chairman, Tapasu Lueng Wai.cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=South Pacific Games repeal gay ban |url=http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/news/stories/s1982159.htm |work= |publisher=ABC Radio Australia |date=2007-07-19 |accessdate=2007-09-06 ] [cite news|url=http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=68618|title=Youth leaders promote 'Safe Games'|publisher= Fiji Times|date=2007-08-16|accessdate=2007-09-12]
A campaign to issue athletes
condomsand advice on sexually transmitted infections also met with resistance from religious leaders. The Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Samoa, Alapati Mataeligasuggested that, in doing so, the authorities were encouraging extra-marital sexual activity which was frowned upon by the church. cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Samoa Catholic leader opposes condoms for athletes |url=http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=34875 |work= |publisher=Radio New Zealand International |date=2007-09-03 |accessdate=2007-09-06 ] Games authorities also back-tracked on plans to issue athletes with female condoms after fears it might "expose young athletes to sex." Male condoms were nevertheless distributed.
The closing ceremony for the Games again took place at Apia Park. Attended by some 20,000 spectators, a twelve minute fireworks display brought proceedings to an end before hundreds of
balloons were released in the colours of the Games flag which was itself duly lowered and the ceremonial flame extinguished.
The flag was then passed to
New Caledoniadelegates, supported by a Kanakcultural group, ahead of the 2011 Pacific Gamesin Noumea.cite news |first=Elma |last= Maua |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Unprecedented fireworks display closes 13th South Pacific Games |url=http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=34979 |work= |publisher=Radio New Zealand International |date=2007-09-09 |accessdate=2007-09-10 ]
Final Medal Table
* Football, (Preliminary Qualification for
OFC Nations Cupand FIFA World Cup)
* Outrigger Canoeing, see
Rugby league nines
A significant amount of the pre-Games expenditure was spent on building new facilities and upgrading those already in existence in Samoa. The majority of the new facilities were sited at the Faleata Sports Complex at Tuana'imato however many Samoans feared the size of the complex and other construction would lead to the venues becoming significant
white elephants after the Games were over. [" [http://www.islandsbusiness.com/islands_business/index_dynamic/containerNameToReplace=MiddleMiddle/focusModuleID=5639/overideSkinName=issueArticle-full.tpl Samoa stays focused on finishing line - Host wants to farewell SPG in style] " by Peter Rees, IslandsBusiness.com]
Aganoa Beach- Surfing
*Apia Park Sports Complex::Gymnasium - Table Tennis and Badminton::Stadium - Athletics, Rugby Union and Touch Football::Netball Courts - Netball::Tennis Courts - Tennis
Fagalii- Royal Samoa Golf Course- Golf
*Faleata Sports Complex::Samoa Aquatic Centre - Swimming::Archery Field - Archery::Baseball Field - Baseball::Beach Volleyball Courts - Beach Volleyball::Toleafoa S. Blatter Stadium - Soccer::Cricket ovals - Cricket::Gymnasium 1 - Boxing, Weightlifting, Body Building::Gymnasium 2 - Squash and Basketball::Hockey Fields - Hockey::Sports Centre - Judo, Taekwondo, Power Lifting, Wrestling::Lawn Bowls Centre - Lawn Bowls::Squash Courts - Squash
Samoa Turf Club- Softball
Marist Stadium- Rugby League
MulifanuaWater Sports - Va'a (Outrigger) Canoeing; Sailing
*Triathlon course - Triathlon
TafaigataShooting Range - Shooting
National University of Samoa- Gymnasium - Indoor Volleyball
Cricket at the 2007 South Pacific Games
Football at the 2007 South Pacific Games
* [http://www.samoa2007.ws/ Official Website]
* [http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/southpacificgames/ South Pacific Games micro site] at "RadioAustralia.net"
* [http://www.rsssf.com/tabless/southpac.html List of South Pacific Games and Mini Games on www.rsssf.com] by
Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
* [http://www.athletics-oceania.com/ Oceania Athletics]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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