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Church compound to be used to house athletes at 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa
10:10 pm GMT+12, 06/01/2019, Samoa

Organisers of the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia in Samoa have confirmed a "compound" owned by the country's Methodist Church will act as an Athletes' Village.

Originally the plan was to house all athletes in hotels but the vast majority will now stay in accommodation provided by the Methodist Church in Faleula.

Only weightlifting and boxing athletes will be housed in hotels, it has been reported.

More than 1,000 technical officials and delegates will also stay in hotels, with the church purely for athletes and team officials.

Around 4,000 athletes are expected to attend the Games in July.

"We recognise that our goal to host all athletes and officials in hotels was an ambitious one," Samoa's Education, Sports and Culture Minister Loau Keneti Sio has been quoted as saying in the Saipan Tribune.

"But we continue to look for ways to be cost effective and meet our time-frames.

"The Government stands firm in our aim to partner together with the private sector."

In November, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed between the Samoa Tourism Authority, the Pacific Games Office (PGO) and accommodation providers in Upolu and Savaii, which it was hoped would allow for the accommodation of all athletes in hotels.

PGO chief executive Andrew Minogue had previously said that the plans to use hotels was a work in progress.

"The Games Organising Committee acknowledges the support of the Methodist Church of Samoa Board in making special allowances to help accommodate for athletes and team officials," Sio added.

"When the request was sent, the Board did not hesitate to answer the call and we are thankful for the spirit they have come in.

"Hosting athletes and team officials within the Faleula compound not only helps alleviate our transport and security services, it will make these Games extra special."

Sio made his point by adding that the Games is about "building bonds" between Pacific nations.

"Being based within a Samoan village environment will provide insight and appreciation into our Samoan way of doing things," he said.

"We're really excited about the partnership, said Sio.

SOURCE: INSIDETHEGAMES/PACNEWS


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