Nearly two months after the Solomon Islands reiterated its commitment to host the 2023 Pacific Games, construction of the facilities for the competition has yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Inside the Games website covering various tournaments in the Pacific, several projects for the 2023 Pacific Games are funded by the Chinese government, but the project team from China can’t travel yet to the Solomon Islands and only preparatory work is being done remotely.
The Solomon Islands through the help of China is scheduled to start construction of the National Stadium this year. Other facilities that will be built for the 2023 Pacific Games are a new Olympic-size swimming pool, five tennis courts, a new practice athletics track, a hockey field, a multi-purpose sports hall and a 1,200 square foot office that will be the headquarters of the Games.
The Solomon Islands has yet to record a COVID-19 case, but is still having challenges with incoming and outgoing flights.
Pacific Games Council chief executive Andrew Minogue was quoted by Inside the Games through Radio New Zealand, as he suggested to utilize a charter flight to bring in the Chinese project team.
“It’s largely for repatriation of Solomon Island citizens that are over there but also I think to possibly bring in some design teams from China to be on the ground and start at the next level of intensive design work for the venues in Honiara,” Minogue said.
The PCG official added that construction needs to begin soon if the original timetable is to be maintained.
“By next year I think,” Minogue said. “Mid-2021 gives them sort of 18 months to two years to have the venues ready is sort of a guiding timeline that we’ve had. They need to be able to keep going with that program to get things ready on time.” (Saipan Tribune)