Athletes from Tahiti were forced to march under the Pacific Games Council (PGC) flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu after the Government initiated a boycott of the event.
The country’s Government had announced they planned not to send a team to the Games in October following a row with the PGC over the the participation of the country’s boxers.
A disagreement over who should represent Tahiti’s boxers at the event, following claims that they were being endorsed by a rival federation in the nation, prompted a critical response from the PGC.
The governing body accused Tahiti’s Government of political interference by choosing not to send any athletes.
Tahiti responded by confirming they would boycott the Games in Port Vila, which run through to December 15.
The country are set to be represented in boxing and rugby sevens, however, but will compete under the PGC flag.
Following a decision from a local court to annul the results of the Tahiti Nui Pacific Games Association’s elections last year, the PGC confirmed they would accept entries from sporting federations in the country who are recognised by their respective International Federations.
The Opening Ceremony, held at the Korman Stadium, exhibited the “sights and colour of Vanuatu’s unique culture and vibrancy”, according to organisers.
A series of cultural performances took place during the spectacle, which included fire eaters, traditional dancers and shows representing all the main islands which make up Vanuatu.
The Vanuatu 2017 theme song, entitled “Ignite the Spirit Within”, was also performed.
The Ceremony concluded with a fireworks display which “ended proceedings with a bang”, the Organising Committee said.