Prime Minister (PM) Charlot Salwai officially declared the 12th National Games ‘opened’ yesterday to an estimated crowd of over 3,000 people, who gathered around the Lamenu Stadium to witness the Official opening of the Games.
PM Salwai made the official declaration after a surprising handing over of the ‘Games Torch’ lit and handed over by Vanuatu’s well-known Flying Jet, Mr Jack Lawrence.
In his speech, the Prime minster highlighted the importance of organizing a National Game as a way of bringing all athletes together to compete and allow better selection of the best athletes to represent Vanuatu regionally and internationally.
PM Salwai emphasized the importance of the Games theme: “Sharing the Spirit’ and also addressed the importance of having and maintaining a better Sports Facility that will create a positive impact in Sports development.
“Make children dream, inspire them to love sport. Showcase your talent, showcase your power and be an example to encourage our children to also participate in sports activities,” PM Salwai said, encouraging the participating athletes.
Prior the official declaration of the Games, Minister of Youth and Sports, Seule Simeon says Sports development for a country is very important. It can unite community, Area councils, Provinces and Nation. He also added that Sports is leadership, health and can help reduce crime for a country.
“Sports is everyone’s business,” Minister Simeon said.
“Therefore, the Ministry responsible for Youth Development and Sports would like to capitalize on the National Games as an opportunity to improve sports development in the country. National, Provincial, Area and Ward Councils Sports league must be active. It is everyone’s responsibility to encourage active sports personnel to play sports or continue to play sports.”
He appealed to all Government Ministries, Municipalities, Provinces and Area Councils to ensure that there must be budget allocated to support Sports within their annual budget provision.
“Support from VASANOC and National Sports Federation is also essential in the development of Sports from national level to grassroots level as well as supports from development partners who also contributed a lot in the development of Sports in Vanuatu”.
Additionally, the Minister said, “I would like to acknowledge all athletes for your commitment to leave your family or home to be part of the team to represent your province in this National Games. My advice as Minister to you is to train hard and play hard. Remember you are a role model to the younger sports generation- so avoid alcohol, Kava or drugs”.
Present at the official opening ceremony was the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister of Health, other Government Officials, Lord Mayor for Port Vila Municipality, Provincial Authorities, Municipal Authorities, Development Partners, TAFEA Community Leaders, Chairman of Local Organizing Committee and Committee, National Sports Federations, Sports Officials and athletes.
A total of 1,000 athletes including games officials will be competing throughout the one week event starting today, Monday the 6thof May. Team TORBA is yet to arrive.