“Most Vanuatu citizens are very quick to give up. We are very good at blaming, but we never help to contribute. If you don’t contribute to help our athletes grow, then shut up!

“When they lose, we criticize them a lot. This is an appeal to every citizen to change their mentality, mindset and stand up to support this team. We must stand up as a country, for these are the very people that we trust that will represent us”.

Acting Prime Minster Jotham Napat made this powerful appeal statement during his official delivery speech to athletes and public at the Team Vanuatu for the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games Parade at the Seafront Stage in Port Vila on Saturday.

“Never give up - despite a 7-0 win,” he said. “One day we will change, that is why we never throw this towel very easily”.

Mr Napat continued to say that Vanuatu as a Christian nation should stand together and help its athletes grow.

“If not for Vanuatu, I will never be the Acting Prime Minister today. If not for Vanuatu, Mr Ralph Regenvanu will never be the Minister for Foreign Affairs. If it’s not for Vanuatu, Mr Esmon Saimon will never be the Speaker of Parliament today. It’s time to give back for our country. That is why if it’s not for Vanuatu, you will never be an athlete standing here today. So, go and represent Vanuatu well,” Acting PM Napat said.

He said these athletes are the country’s heroes and champions.

The Acting PM also encouraged athletes to discipline themselves, refrain from consuming alcohol or drugs and showing the best attitude when it comes to representing Vanuatu in a Game.

“There is nothing as powerful as attitude,” he said.

“Your attitude will determine your future. You are your attitude, if you cannot control your attitude, then your attitude will control you. You have showed us that you have disciplined and trained, that is why you are here today.”

Napat also added that attitude can change the environment, moral and destiny of an athlete.

“Remember, you are not just representing the country. But, bear in mind that tomorrow your attitude can make you a better person. So, control your attitude”.

The Government has committed itself in contributing an amount of Vt95 million towards the Samoa 2019 Games because it has seen the potential Vanuatu athletes are displaying that is why it will be always there to support or invest in Sports.

The government is also working now to prepare a bid to the Pacific Games Council to host the 2027 Pacific Games. Sports Development has also been supportive through developing partners.

“This is already a big commitment for our government. The government will always commit itself in Sports development. This again could not be possible without the support from our developing partners such as Australia, New Zealand, France and China,” Mr. Napat added.

The acting PM said that the whole nation will ‘Stand behind these athletes’ to support them with an aim of winning medals to change the Team Vanuatu Medal Tally Ranking in the Pacific Games.

“On behalf of government, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you all and wish you all the best for the Games. You can do it and we believe in you, we will stand behind you as a nation. I would like to quote a popular Bible verse that says ‘All things are possible with God,” Acting PM Napat said in his closing remarks.

Mrs. Anolyn Lulu, Chairlady of the Athletes Commission assured the government that the athletes will perform to the best of their ability.

“On behalf of all the athletes who will be participating at the 16th Pacific Games in Samoa, we want to thank the Vanuatu Government for their trust in sending such a high number of athletes to the Games. We want to assure you that we will perform to the best of our ability. Everything that we have learnt from the past years of training and from the few past months and weeks of training, we will ensure that we will fly our flag up high, uphold our values and respect for each other to proudly represent Vanuatu in this Games,” Mrs. Lulu said.

Mrs. Lulu also added that the team will ensure that the medals won from the previous Pacific Games will change.

“We will be travelling with high expectations for the games,” Mrs Lulu said.

Part of the program was the official presentation of the Team Vanuatu athletes travelling to Samoa which was presented by the Director General for the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Mr. Henry Vira.

Mr. Vira congratulated the selected athletes as well as acknowledge the support provided from their coaches, team managers and families.

“Congratulations on your selection and thank you to those who stand beside you for support, especially your families”, DG Vira said.

This is one of the highest number ever recorded in the Sports history of Vanuatu to send a high number of athletes to represent Vanuatu at a Pacific Games apart from the five months Intensive Training held in China for the Pacific Mini Games in 2017.

This is however another milestone for Sports Development for Vanuatu and a way to predicting that sports will have a bright future, when government is committedly supporting sports.

The program ended with the official declaration and handing over of Team Vanuatu Flag Bearer.

President of VASANOC, Antoine Boudier, officially declared that Ken Kahu from Tanna is Team Vanuatu Flag Bearer to the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.

Ken was the silver medalist for the Arafura Games in Darwin. He was Vanuatu’s first ever medal winner in the Arafura games which qualifies him for the Tokyo2020 Para Olympic Games in Japan.

Ken is also the first ever para-athlete to qualifier on merit for Para Olympic games and is also the Vanuatu’s first para-athlete to be the flag bearer in the Pacific games.

The major sports event on Saturday had Acting PM Napat as guest speaker, with the presence of Speaker of Parliament Esmon Saimon; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ralph Regenvanu; Minister for Youth and Sports, Seoule Simeon; VASANOC President, Antoine Boudier; DG for Youth and Sports, Henry Vira; CEO VASANOC, Henry Tavoa and other guests including athletes, coaches, team managers and the general public.

Team Vanuatu will be departing this Thursday, 4th of July 2019.

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