Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan, accompanied by PGC executive director Andrew Minogue, is in Nuku’alofa to assess the state of preparations for Tonga’s hosting of the 2019 Pacific Games.
During his visit, Lakhan attended a meeting of the Tonga 2019 Audit & Governance Authority, chaired by the Prime Minister of Tonga, the Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva, and the group once again said the Tongan Government expressed its full support for hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.
Lakhan also received extensive briefings from the staff of the Tongan Pacific Games Organising Committee (TPGOC) on the development of the sports and marketing programs and the general organizational planning for the 2019 Pacific Games. He then met with the full Executive Committee of TPGOC, chaired by Lord Fred Sevele.
Lakhan talked to the full Executive Committee of the host Pacific Games Association for the 2019 Pacific Games, the Tongan Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (TASA) to impress upon them the need to develop their athletes and officials over the next three years to deliver a strong Team Tonga at the Games.
The PGC head also met separately with leaders of the Tongan National Federations, whose sports are on the 2019 Pacific Games program, and will have responsibility for conducting Games competitions with technical officials and sports volunteers.
During the visit, Lakhan undertook a comprehensive tour of the proposed Games venues at the grounds of Tonga High School, the Nuku’alofa waterfront, and the Teufaiva Stadium.
In summarizing his visit, Lakhan said “the Pacific Games Council is pleased that the Honorable Prime Minister is now involved in overseeing the Tongan Government’s commitment to hosting the 2019 Pacific Games and providing the necessary facilities and funding support to stage a successful Games.
“Progress was evident in the development of the Games Master Plan. Last year, my Executive Board endorsed the BECA Master Plan, and I support some of the modifications to this Master Plan that were presented to the Audit & Governance Authority meeting this week by Tongan Government representatives, particularly the additional playing field and warm-up facility at the Police Training compound adjacent to the Teufaiva Stadium,” he said.
Lakhan recommended that the original Master Plan for Tennis and Lawn Bowls facilities at the nearby Tonga High School be retained.
“These actions will maintain the commitment to the ‘Walking Games’ concept, where the majority of the Games venues are located in the main population center of Nuku’alofa and within walking distance of its schools which will house the Games athletes,” the PGC president said.
“This is the key to ensuring that after the Games, the venues are easily accessible to the future youth of Tonga, leaving positive legacies which justify the investment in the 2019 Pacific Games. I am pleased to note the progress in seeking donor government support for delivering on the Games Master Plan,” he added.