Peter Stewart appointed CEO of 2023 Pacific Games

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Peter Stewart has been appointed CEO of the 2023 Pacific Games Organising Committee, with just over 800 days until the opening ceremony in Honiara.

The Australian-based administrator was CEO of the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby and has held several other positions in Papua New Guinea and at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji.

He replaces Shalom Akao Waita, who was the first woman to lead a Pacific Games Organising Committee.

The former Solomon Islands netball and basketball representative was appointed in October but stood down earlier this year.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, and Minister responsible for the 2023 Pacific Games, Manasseh Sogavare, said Stewart was selected following a competitive international recruitment process.

“Most importantly for his role in helping us deliver a successful and memorable games in 2023, Mr Stewart has over 30 years of experience working on major events around the world including in Pacific Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics Games,” he said.

Peter Stewart will work directly with Chair of Games Organising Committee, Martin Rara, who is also the Vice Chair of the National Hosting Authority (NHA) Board and the President of the Host Pacific Games Association (PGA) and the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands.

The Games Organising Committee currently employs five senior officials, but will eventually grow to over 300 staff and 2,500 volunteers.

It is tasked with delivering the sports program for the 2023 Games, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies, marketing, broadcasting, security, transport and logistics, and the meals and accommodation for an estimated 5,000 athletes and officials.

Manasseh Sogavare also announced the appointment of Aaron Alsop as the inaugural Executive Director of the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports – High Performance Programme.

He said previous events have shown that one of the key measures of a successful Pacific Games is the performance of the host nation.

“For instance, Papua New Guinea delivered its best-ever performance achieving the 1st overall standing when it hosted the 2015 Pacific Games.

“Samoa delivered its best performances when it hosted the 2007 and 2019 Pacific Games. Both countries invested in the development of their sports people at the same time they were planning the implementation of their home games.”

Aaron Alsop was the Director of Papua New Guinea’s High Performance Program when the country topped the medal table in 2015.

Sogavare said the Solomon Islands government “will ensure our preparation to host the Games is guaranteed. Simultaneously we will also invest in the development of our sports people to ensure they are competitive during the Games.”

The upcoming Games were originally scheduled to take place in July 2023 but were delayed by four months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There are now 804 days until the opening ceremony and the Prime Minister said “the time has come for us to start the sprint towards the finish line – November 19, 2023, when our nation will celebrate the Opening of the 17th Pacific Games in our brand-new National Stadium in Honiara.” .

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFICC/PACNEWS