Excitement builds for Pacific Games Team

30 June 2015

PAC GAMES: With the Pacific Games opening in Port Moresby, Papau New Guinea this Saturday the Australian Team support staff are in the Village making the final preparations for the first athletes to arrive. 

It is a very exciting time as about 4,000 athletes from across the region, including Australia and New Zealand, are descending on Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea for the 15th Games, starting July 4. 

Australia has been invited to compete at the Games for the first time, in four sports; weightlifting, taekwondo, rugby sevens and sailing. 

For the 43 Australian athletes it will be a chance to compete against the region’s best athletes and for some it is an important stage of their Rio Olympics preparations. 

Australian Chef de Mission, Olympic sailing gold medallist, Malcolm Page says it will be an opportunity for the athletes to test themselves and learn more about the Pacific region. 

“This being the first Pacific Games for Australia is truly exciting,” he said. 

“For the Australian athletes they have an amazing opportunity to not only represent their country, but also to meet people and learn about some incredible cultures whom are our neighbours. 

“Sport and especially Games like this, have an incredible way of connecting people and creating memories that last forever.” 

Deputy Chef de Mission Lisa Sams says it will be a great stepping stone for some athletes for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. 

“Two of the sports Australia will compete in (weightlifting and taekwondo), the Pacific Games competition is actually part of the Oceania qualification system for Rio 2106, so for these athletes it is particularly important,” she said. 

“For our rugby sevens women, this competition will be really physically tough, and having just qualified a Team for Rio 2016, it’s a great opportunity for the athletes selected to gain some really great international competition and also show case their skills within their own sport in the hope of being selected for Rio next year.” 

Sams says the competition will be tough. 

“The Rugby 7s competition is going to be fierce, going up against the likes of PNG, Fiji, Samoa. PNG will be very tough to beat, especially having the home soil advantage,” she said. 

“For the two sports of taekwondo and weightlifting, given the importance of this event on their Olympic pathway, every athlete will be striving for gold and the chance to pursue their Olympic dream.” 

For Queenslander Tia-Clair Toomey the Games is her chance to wear the green and gold for the first time. 

“I’m excited to be a part of the Australian Team and to be able to compete for my country against some great weightlifters in Papua New Guinea,” she said. 

Australians can view daily highlights of the action on NITV, with rugby union legend Mark Ella a host on the coverage. 

Annie Kearney

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