The Pacific Games Council has approved the Solomon Islands’ request to delay the start of the 2023 Pacific Games from July to November to give it more time to complete the sports facilities for the quadrennial event.
Due to COVID-19 causing inevitable delays to the commencement of the venue construction program in Honiara, the Solomon Islands earlier requested the change of dates from the original July 16-29 2023 schedule to Nov. 19- Dec. 2, 2023.
“First and foremost, let me convey to the executive board of the Pacific Games Council, and to the 22-member Pacific Games Associations and the 24 Oceania federations for the sports on the Games program, the sincere appreciation of our nation and our government for the kindred spirit demonstrated by the members of our Pacific family to allow the deferment of the 2023 Pacific Games by four months. This short delay will enable the Solomon Islands to complete the construction of all the facilities it requires to successfully host the 2023 Pacific Games,” said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a national address.
The PGC executive board said it signed on to the new dates after consultations with the 22-member Pacific Games Associations and the 24 Oceania federations for the sports on the 2023 Pacific Games program.
The Pacific Games Council said it was assured that the venue construction program, largely supported by the Chinese, Indonesian, and Papua New Guinea governments, and which is underway, should be completed by mid-2023, but a July start of the Pacific Games allowed little time to test the venues and make them fully operational.
Starting the Pacific Games in July would also not allow for contingencies in the event of further slippage in the construction program due to natural causes like heavier than usual rains. The Pacific Games Council said these additional four months of preparation time will allow the venues to be fully completed and tested.
The 2023 Honiara Pacific Games will have 23 sports in the events calendar. It include the core sports of athletics, basketball (5×5 and 3×3), boxing, football, golf, judo, outrigger canoe, rugby 7s, sailing, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, triathlon, volleyball (indoor and beach), and weightlifting as well as seven optional sports that were chosen, namely bodybuilding, hockey, karate, Netball, powerlifting, rugby 9s, and touch rugby.