French Polynesian President Moetai Brotherson has reaffirmed the commitment to stage the Paris 2024 Olympic Games surfing events in Tahiti after the territory’s Sports Minister Nahema Temarii expressed doubts.
Sports Minister Temarii declared that she was considering the possibility of “revoking this commitment” in regard to Teahupo’o’s scheduled hosting at the Games, as reported by Le Monde.
The Minister of Housing and Solidarity Minarii Galenons also added that “we can very well cancel these Olympic Games, but we will have very large sums to pay.”
Just three days later, Brotherson countered the sentiments of his Sports Minister who was only appointed on 15 May by the President following his ascension to power on 12 May.
“The option of not taking part in the Games is very restrictive, and I think that it is not the one that we will retain, this is not the spirit that animates me,” he said, as reported by Le Monde.
“I absolutely want these Games to take place here because it’s here that surfing was born, not elsewhere.
“There are discussions to be had with the State on the agreement which was passed by the previous Government, there is a collective budget which is approaching, where we will have to materialise the commitments.
“This will be part of the discussions we will have with the State, but the goal is for the Games to take place here.””
The new Government visited residents affected by a flood in Teahupo’o which some believe was contributed to by a new footbridge being constructed there for the Games.
Approximately fifty houses were destroyed and dozens of cars were washed away.
Eyewitnesses say the water levels rose even further because the bridge’s palisades diverted flood water and caused torrents in front of properties.
Work is still being carried out on Games preparations, with the renovation of the marina taking place and a new drinking water network installed.
insidethegames has contacted Paris 2024 and the International Surfing Association for comment.
SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/PACNEWS