Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) President, Dr Robin Mitchell, opened the Melanesian Sub-Regional Athletes’ Forum by encouraging athlete representatives to work for the best interests of the athletes they represent.

“In terms of today’s meeting, I just really want to wish you all the best,” he added.

“COVID has affected the work of the athletes for the past two and a half years.”

“So I think it’s important that you better mobilise and work within your countries to make sure that your voices are heard, and in particular, that the wishes and aspirations of the athletes become the main focus of what the NOC and also ONOC will do, to help you.”

President Mitchell addressed the eight participants from the five Melanesian countries at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi, Fiji.

With the theme of the forum “Melanesia, Be the Change,” Ricardo Blas, Secretary General of ONOC, also reminded the athletes of the important role they have within the respective Athlete Commissions (ACs).

“When you look at all the messages coming from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), President Bach makes it clear that the core of the Olympic movement are the athletes.”

“You need to draw on this and take the initiative,” SG Blas reiterated.

“This workshop will engage and guide you on proposed initiatives that we think will work for you on ground.”

ONOC is staging the Melanesian Sub-Regional Athletes’ Forum with support from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Programme and the ONOC Athletes’ Commission.

The forum commenced this morning and will continue tomorrow until Friday, 28 April with a total of 20 sessions scheduled over the three days.