By Shane Saroya – EMTV, Port Moresby
The Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) President Joe Rodan has said the 2015 Pacific Games were almost equivalent to the Olympic Games for some sports.
This was reported by Journalist Shalveen Chand of the nation’s daily newspaper, the Fiji Times, who also listed Pacific Games Council President Vidya Lakhan as saying it was the best games ever.
Mr. Rodan said there was no one in Fiji who told him to “have a good time” when he was preparing to fly over to Port Moresby, all he seemed to be getting was “stay safe”.
He said despite the warnings, the Pacific Games was a very memorable experience.
Mr. Chand said the following were his highlights of the games:
The opening ceremony
The organisers of the Pacific Games had contracted the same company that had done the opening ceremony for the London Olympic Games and Port Moresby was abuzz. Streets were closed and people lined up for almost a kilometre to get to the ticket booths.
The tall stages were on either side and the centre stage where the performers and teams passed through. The night concluded with fireworks with more than 15,000 in attendance and a million more on television.
First victory for Fiji
Fiji’s first gold by Maueli Tulo in weightlifting got team Fiji on a roll.
The power of PNG fans
Whenever the host nation PNG is playing, the sport is one that has mass appeal and beware the extra man — the fans. Fiji got its first taste of PNG fans’ behaviour when the Men’s Basketball team took on the home side in Taurama.
The Fiji sevens teams
The Fiji sevens team were being awaited with much anticipation. To the PNG fans , the Fiji team were superstars, who they had watched on television only. To make things more interesting, the home side was pitted to play Fiji in the first game. Fiji went on to win gold in both Men’s and Women’s.
The Karate team
Perhaps the most successful team in the Pacific Games raking in seven gold medals. The secret behind this team’s success was dedication and discipline. Karate section manager Lavorne Qio said the athletes trained early in the morning and in the afternoon. She said if it was not for the commitment of the athletes, the team would not have been able to achieve the seven gold medals.
She is the reigning Pacific Sprint Queen and the sporting star in PNG and remained true to what was expected of her running a brilliant 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x400m events.
Banz was simply outstanding. He came and he set the tracks on fire and much to the dismay of the PNG fans, Tabakaucoro remained the fastest man in the Pacific.
Communication was not efficient and different venues rarely shared information with each other. The best organised was Taurama where the team headed by Constance and Cyrill kept all media informed of upcoming activities and results were available five minutes after the event. This was unlike other venues, however despite the minor setbacks the athletes had the best time.
The Games Village was a hive of activity and allowed athletes to make new friends. The people of Port Moresby turned out to be very good hosts and according to some, the games ensured the city was the safest it had been in years and there was hope that it would stay this way