2003 South Pacific Games
|XII South Pacific Games|
Official logo of the Games
|Opening ceremony||June 28, 2003|
|Closing ceremony||July 12, 2003|
|Officially opened by||Josefa Iloilo|
The Games were the 12th South Pacific Games to be held since the event's inception and were the 40th anniversary of their beginnings in 1963. It was also the third time in the event's history that they had been hosted in Suva. For the first time, the Games included both traditional multi-sport event disciplines such as athletics and swimming together with region-specific and smaller events such as outrigger canoeing, surfing and lawn bowls.
Fijian government funding aided by a $16 million aid package from the People's Republic of China saw the construction of a new gymnasium and indoor sports center, swimming pool and stadium, field hockey pitch and stands as well as the upgrading of existing facilities for other sports.
A strong corporate sponsorship package (including some 20 corporate sponsors), a first for the games, enabled the organizers to expand the scope of the event. A colorful media and publicity campaign - including the Games' mascot Tau (meaning "friend" in Fijian) - generated interest and enthusiasm amongst the Fijian public. Schools and youth groups were involved in interactive programs such as the adopt-a-country program.
The 2003 SPG were the biggest Games to date. There were some 300 medal ceremonies with over 860 presentations and 2,300 individual medals.
The following sports were competed:
Hosts Fiji won the first gold medals of the games in women's archery and went on to top the athletics medal count to add to their best-ever medal haul at the SPG. Guam retained its place in baseball winning their second SPG gold medal. The cricket final saw Papua New Guinea overcome Fiji by a single run for the gold medal.
Fijian athletics dominated the athletics events winning a total of 19 gold medals. Makelesi Bulikiombo, the Fijian flag-bearer in the opening ceremony, won 5 gold medals and broke 4 games records. Fiji also took gold, silver and bronze in the each of the men's and women's 100m and 200m and both gold and silver in the 400m.
The football competition was one of the sports to be held in venues other than Suva. Fiji won the men's final beating New Caledonia while Papua New Guinea took the first-ever women's football gold medal in a round robin format.
Continuing their domination at the games, Fiji won a further gold in the first-ever women's field hockey competition at the SPG.
- Athletics at the 2003 South Pacific Games
- Swimming at the 2003 South Pacific Games
- Vodafone Arena (Fiji)
- Prasad, Shoma. "Rousing start to 12th South Pacific Games". Wansolwara Online. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
- South Pacific Games 2003 Medal Tally - Sport Medals, retrieved April 29, 2013