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Spectacular entertainment closes out 2023 Pacific Games

Team American Samoa
First time Solomons has hosted biggest sporting event of region

Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS — Closing Ceremony of the 2023 17th Pacific Games at Honiara’s National Stadium on Saturday night, Dec. 2, was vibrant in every sense of the word,

It was colorful, it resonated with happy sounds, lively and musical with the unique touch of the Hapi Isles or the Solomon Islands.

The event, which marked the end of a two-week sporting extravaganza, will no doubt be etched in the minds of the Solomon Island people who have witnessed for the first time in their lives, the biggest sporting event in the Pacific region.

Since the first Pacific Games hosted by Fiji in 1963, this is the first time Solomon Islands has hosted it.

The Sol2023 Pacific Games saw more than 5,000 athletes compete in 24 sports that witnessed New Caledonia top the medal tally with an impressive 82 gold medals.

The event began with the acknowledgement of all 24 countries and territories that participated as their flags were carried onto the field by selected athletes who had performed exceptionally well.

The parade was led by American Samoa and the flag bearers were the two powerlifters who won silver medals for Team American Samoa, Juston Pedro and Lonita Motu.

The two powerlifters who won silver medals for Team American Samoa Justin Pedro and Lonita Motu proudly carrying the American Samoa flags during the Closing Ceremony of the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara, Solomon Islands. The third silver medalist was Micah Masei who returned to Hawaii last week. [photo: Asi A. Fa’asau]

The flag bearers marched onto the field where they stood at their allotted space to await the rest of their teams who entered the field as the emcees announced them.

The thousands of volunteer dancers entered the stadium with their colorful uniforms dancing to the beat of the drums, mesmerizing the athletes and the spectators who filled the two grandstands.

The President of the Pacific Games Council (PGC), Vidhya Lakhan, expressed admiration for the athletic talent showcased across the two weeks of competition, and emphasized the deeper cultural and universal significance of brotherhood, dignity and respect embedded in the Pacific Games.

He acknowledged with thanks the efforts of those who contributed to the event’s success, including volunteers, school children performers, ministries, organizers, and sponsors.

Lakhan also heaped praises on the Games for surpassing expectations in terms of participation, arrangements, venue quality, and competitive standards.

 “The government and people of the Solomon Islands under the leadership of Prime Minister Sogavare, by hosting these games not only united and strengthened the bond between the people of Solomon Islands, but also between the peoples of the Pacific,” Lakhan said.

 “There were many critics who doubted that Solomon Islands had the ability to host such a large event.

 “We commend you, Mr Prime Minister, for your vision, for your commitment and for your faith in your own people.

 “We commend you in engaging a small band of experts with experience in delivering successful Pacific Games in the recent past, empowering and providing them with the necessary resources to deliver the Games.”

He congratulated all the medal winners, and reminded those who missed out that their turn will come perhaps at the next Games.

 “In the name of the Pacific Games Council, I proclaim the Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games closed,” Lakhan declared.

 “I call upon the sportsmen and women of the Pacific to assemble in four years’ time in Tahiti to celebrate the eighteenth Pacific Games. May you display cheerfulness and harmony so that the spirit of our Pacific family of nations may be carried on with great eagerness, courage and honor for the good of humanity and for the peace of the world,” Lakhan concluded.

A spectacular fireworks display painted the sky with a kaleidoscope of color which heralded a reggae concert featuring the popular artists in the Solomon Islands to conclude the ceremony.

Many thanks to Papalii Laulii Alofa and Paramount Builders, Inc. and also to ASNOC for their generous support which has made the coverage of the 2023 17th Pacific Games possible.