2007 Pacific Games

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XIII South Pacific Games
SPG2007.jpg
Official logo of the 2007 Games
Host city Apia, Upolu
Country  Samoa
Motto Live the dream!
Nations participating 22
Athletes participating 5000
Events 32 sports
Opening ceremony August 25, 2007 (2007-08-25)
Closing ceremony September 8, 2007 (2007-09-08)
Officially opened by Tufuga Efi
Torch Lighter Ofisa Ofisa
Main venue Apia Park
2003 Suva 2011 Nouméa  >

The 2007 Pacific Games were held in Apia, Samoa, from 25 August to 8 September, 2007. The Games were also known as the XIII South Pacific Games.

The Games were the thirteenth Pacific Games to be held since the event's inception in 1963 and included traditional multi-sport event disciplines, such as athletics and swimming, alongside region-specific and smaller events such as outrigger canoeing, surfing and lawn bowls. The principal venue for the Games was Apia Park, with other events taking place at the Faleata Sporting Complex and at other locations around Samoa.

In comparison to the Olympic Games, which are expected to generate income for the host nation,[1] the 2007 Pacific Games are expected to leave Samoa US$92 million in debt, predominantly as a result of expenditure on large-scale infrastructure projects such as bridges and roads.[2]

Opening ceremony[edit]

The opening ceremony took place on 25 August 2007 at Apia Park Stadium and was performed in a traditional Samoan and Pacific style,[3] welcoming some 5,000 athletes from 22 nations and territories to Samoa.

The ceremony was attended by Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa (who also competed in the Games - see below), and Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Head of State. Choreographed by Samoan contemporary dancer Alan Aiolupotea[4] the ceremony featured dancing portraying the "mystical legends" from Samoa's island heritage (such as the stories of Sina and the Eel and Nafanua[5]) with a five-year-old female fire dancer from Siumu Village performing a siva afi (or fire stick dance) accompanied by a Samoan song depicting the flow of lava following the 1905 eruptions near Savai'i being one of the showcase displays.[6]

Former New Zealand Idol winner Rosita Vai sang an accompaniment to the torch lighting of the ceremonial flame by Ofisa Ofisa, a Samoan weightlifter.[5]

Following a rest day on Sunday, the sporting events of the Games began on Monday, 27 August.

Participation by Samoan Prime Minister[edit]

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi competed for his country at the Games in the sport of target archery.[7] In participating in the Games, the Prime Minister became the first elected leader to represent his country at a multi-sport event.

Having taken up the sport only 5 months prior to the Games, Tuilaepa was ranked second in Samoa in the combined bow discipline. The Prime Minister's son was also a reserve team member.[7]

On day 10 of the Games, Tuilaepa won a silver medal in the mixed recurve team play event.[8]

Logistical problems[edit]

Problems with equipment and the lack of multi-sport event infrastructures within the region created difficulties throughout the Games.

The decathlon was reduced to eight disciplines due to a shortage of equipment. The poles for the pole vault were still in Melbourne after the ship due to deliver them was delayed by poor weather and the high jump was the discipline cancelled to allow the event to comply with IAAF regulations (there is no IAAF-sanctioned nine discipline event). In addition, the 1500 metre race was reduced to 1 km.[9] The women's 400 metre hurdles and men's discus were also affected.[10]

The lack of funding and facilities for drug testing also restricted the ability of Games authorities to run a full drug testing and anti-doping programme at the Games. Only one hundred athletes (primarily in high-risk events such as bodybuilding and weightlifting) were due to be tested as samples needed to be flown overseas from Samoa to be processed at a cost of A$500 per sample.[11]

Fireworks due to feature in the Closing Ceremony also remained in Melbourne after difficulties transporting them by ship to Samoa.[10]

Religious controversies[edit]

The religious sensitivities of the host nation (which is primarily Congregationalist Christian) and other participants resulted in several controversial decisions during the organisation and running of the Games.

Athletes in the women's beach volleyball event were required to wear shorts and t-shirts as opposed to the regulation bikini-style outfits to avoid offending family members and other spectators.[12]

A leaked internal memo by Team Samoa authorities was circulated prior to the event warning Samoan athletes not to engage in homosexual intercourse declaring it as "ungodly", stating: "do not embarrass yourself, your family and your country by trying this in the village...Best not to even think about this. It's against the law of God!" Such activity is prohibited under Samoan law and punishable by up to five years' imprisonment. However the ban on homosexual intercourse was later lifted by organising committee chairman Tapasu Lueng Wai.[13][14]

A campaign to issue athletes condoms and advice on sexually transmitted infections also met with resistance from religious leaders. The Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Samoa, Alapati Mataeliga suggested that, in doing so, the authorities were encouraging extra-marital sexual activity which was frowned upon by the church.[15] Games authorities also back-tracked on plans to issue athletes with female condoms after fears it might "expose young athletes to sex." Male condoms were nevertheless distributed.[4]

Closing ceremony[edit]

The closing ceremony for the Games again took place at Apia Park. Attended by some 20,000 spectators, a twelve-minute fireworks display brought proceedings to an end before hundreds of balloons were released in the colours of the Games flag which was itself duly lowered and the ceremonial flame extinguished.

The flag was then passed to New Caledonia delegates, supported by a Kanak cultural group, ahead of the 2011 Pacific Games in Noumea.[16]

Final Medal Table[edit]

 Rank  Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 New Caledonia 90 69 68 227
2  Tahiti 44 43 31 118
3  Samoa 43 33 50 126
4  Fiji 39 54 43 136
5  Papua New Guinea 38 24 32 94
6  Nauru 15 9 12 36
7  Palau 9 4 3 16
8  Federated States of Micronesia 6 6 1 13
9  Cook Islands 5 9 8 22
10  Tonga 3 14 10 27
11  American Samoa 3 8 11 22
12  Tokelau 3 1 1 5
13  Wallis and Futuna 3 0 1 4
14  Vanuatu 2 1 9 12
15  Solomon Islands 1 12 14 27
16  Guam 1 2 7 10
17  Kiribati 0 4 2 6
18  Marshall Islands 0 1 1 2
 Tuvalu 0 1 1 2
 Niue 0 1 1 2
21  Norfolk Island 0 1 0 1
22  Northern Mariana Islands 0 0 0 0

Sports[edit]

Venues[edit]

A significant amount of the pre-Games expenditure was spent on building new facilities and upgrading those already in existence in Samoa. The majority of the new facilities were sited at the Faleata Sports Complex at Tuana'imato however many Samoans feared the size of the complex and other construction would lead to the venues becoming significant white elephants after the Games were over.[17]

Gymnasium - Table Tennis and Badminton
Stadium - Athletics, Rugby Union and Touch Football
Netball Courts - Netball
Tennis Courts - Tennis
Samoa Aquatic Centre - Swimming
Archery Field - Archery
Baseball Field - Baseball
Beach Volleyball Courts - Beach Volleyball
Toleafoa S. Blatter Stadium - Soccer
Cricket ovals - Cricket
Gymnasium 1 - Boxing, Weightlifting, Body Building
Gymnasium 2 - Squash and Basketball
Hockey Fields - Hockey
Sports Centre - Judo, Taekwondo, Power Lifting, Wrestling
Lawn Bowls Centre - Lawn Bowls
Squash Courts - Squash

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Article by CBRE regarding increase to gross domestic product and real estate values as a result of the 2004 Athens Olympics
  2. ^ "Games puts Samoa in debt". ABC Radio Australia. 2007-09-03. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  3. ^ "South Pacific Games opens in Apia". MatangiTonga online. 2007-08-27. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  4. ^ a b Jackson, Cherelle (2007-09-03). "Letter from Samoa: SPG opens with a bang". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  5. ^ a b Fire, Dance and Song Bring in the Games from Samoa2007.ws
  6. ^ Tepuke, Ali (2007-08-27). "South Pacific Games Open in Apia, Samoa". Solomon Times online. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-29. 
  7. ^ a b Andrews, John (18 August 2007). "Samoa PM draws bow for his country". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Samoa PM wins archery silver". ABC Radio Australia. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  9. ^ "Gear problems in Apia see Games decathlon become an octathlon". Radio New Zealand International. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  10. ^ a b Athletes feel robbed after decathlon becomes octathlon from Niu FM, Pacific Radio News 4 September 2007
  11. ^ New Mindset needed to keep Games clean from Niu FM, Pacific Radio News 6 September 2007
  12. ^ "No bikinis for beach volleyball players". Herald Sun. 2007-08-31. Retrieved 2007-09-06. [dead link]
  13. ^ "South Pacific Games repeal gay ban". ABC Radio Australia. 2007-07-19. Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  14. ^ "Youth leaders promote 'Safe Games'". Fiji Times. 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  15. ^ "Samoa Catholic leader opposes condoms for athletes". Radio New Zealand International. 2007-09-03. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-06. 
  16. ^ Maua, Elma (2007-09-09). "Unprecedented fireworks display closes 13th South Pacific Games". Radio New Zealand International. Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  17. ^ Samoa stays focused on finishing line - Host wants to farewell SPG in style by Peter Rees, IslandsBusiness.com