Samoa will be offering 26 sports when it hosts the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia.
Samoa was selected new host of the next year’s competition after Tonga pulled out due to financial problems. Guam also submitted a bid to take over the hosting rights for the Games from Tonga, but did not meet the criteria of the Pacific Games Council, particularly the financial security required. The council awarded the Games to Samoa last August during the council’s board meeting in Vanuatu.
The council met anew in Port Vila last month during the 2017 Pacific Mini Games and discussed Apia’s preparation for next year’s event.
Samoa will have two fewer sports than the 2015 Pacific Games held in Papua New Guinea. Of the 26 events, the host will have 16 compulsory sports. The list includes athletics, basketball, boxing, football, golf, judo, Rugby 7s, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, va’a (canoe), volleyball (beach and indoor) and weightlifting. Triathlon and sailing are the two new additions to the calendar of events as agreed upon during the Pacific Games Association general assembly in 2016.
The events for the 2019 Pacific Games were reduced to 26 (from 28 in PNG) during the general assembly, too. Next year will also be the last time that Pacific Games will have 26 sports, as the council will only allow 24 events, beginning in 2023 “to maintain the sustainability and affordability of the Games.”
Next year’s competition in Samoa will follow the original schedule set by Tonga, so the Games will run from July 8 to 20. Australian and New Zealand will still be invited to participate in the Samoa-hosted Games, but they are limited to field athletes in eight sports. The two powerhouse countries started competing in the Pacific Games in 2015 when they joined four sports, while in Vanuatu last month during the Mini Games, Australia and New Zealand only entered in two sports.
The CNMI only saw action in athletics, 3×3 men’s basketball, and weightlifting during the 2017 Pacific Mini Games and brought home a bronze medal, thanks to lifter Angel San Nicolas.