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Tahiti and Tonga in running for XVI Pacific Games

Tonga and Tahiti have confirmed their applications are on track with the successful candidate to be decided upon following a vote by the Pacific Games Council, the organisation which runs the event, in Wallis and Futuna on October 18.
Tahiti is well practiced at hosting large sporting events, having already held two Pacific Games, in 1971 and 1995, and is set to welcome a large global audience when the 2013 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup kicks off in Papeete next December.
Tonga on the other hand is yet to host a Pacific Games, though 2019 will mark 30 years since the country was the host of the Pacific Mini-Games in 1989. It has also most recently been the location for Stage 1 of the OFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in March 2012.
Tonga Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano supports his country’s bid, saying they are equipped in terms of infrastructure and human skills to stage the Games.
“The Games will create massive employment for Tongans and a much-needed financial injection into the Tongan economy,” he says.
“The Tongan people could ask for no greater gift than the opportunity to stage the 2019 Pacific Games in our island kingdom.”
A proposed budget of USD$70 million has been earmarked in Tonga’s bid to finance the Games, which will include an upgrade to Loto-Tonga Centre, the home of the Tonga Football Association.
A commitment from the government of the People’s Republic of China to build a new stadium also formed part of Tonga’s application.
Tahiti’s bid has support from its President, Oscar Manutahi Temaru, who says the Games will be the greatest sporting festival offered to Oceania in 2019.
Preparations are well underway for the XV Pacific Games which will be held in Papua New Guinea in 2015.
The previous Pacific Games took place in New Caledonia in 2011 and the men’s football tournament was won by the hosts while Papua New Guinea triumphed in the women’s competition.

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