ASNOC is finalizing logistics for 17th Pacific Games team
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The American Samoa National Olympic Committee (ASNOC) is busy finalizing the logistics required to send a delegation of 189 athletes, coaches and officials to the 17th Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands next month.
American Samoa will be represented in 12 sports which are; 3-on-3 Men’s Basketball, volleyball (men and women), Body building, Boxing, Golf, Indoor Volleyball (men and women), Powerlifting, Sevens Rugby (men and women), Soccer (men and women), Swimming, Track and Field, Weightlifting.
According to ASNOC General Secretary Ethan Lake, the team will be leaving on Nov. 14, on a Solomon Island chartered flight directly from Pago Pago International Airport to Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Lake explained that a total of 144 passengers will be on that flight and the remaining 45 will travel to Honiara on various airlines and routes.
Team American Samoa Chef de Mission is Trevor Kaitu’u, a Solomon Islander who has resided in the Territory since 2009 and currently works at the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) as an Education & Outreach Coordinator for the department’s Coral Reef Advisory Group program.
Kaitu’u may be a Solomon Islander but he is not Melanesian, in fact, he told Samoa News that he is mistaken for a Samoan everyday since arriving in American Samoa and he is used to it.
This is because Kaitu’u hails from Rennell and Bellona one of the seven Polynesian outliers, which fringe the main Solomon Islands to the southwest.
Kaitu’u stated that he is honored to be Chef de Mission of Team American Samoa and will do everything in his power to make sure that our athletes, coaches and officials will get the best treatment in his country of birth.
He also admitted that this was a golden opportunity to visit friends and relatives after a long absence, and he plans to take his wife and two children along.
Kaitu’u will be leaving for the Solomon Islands before Team American Samoa arrives Nov. 14, to make sure everything is in order for the team.
The Deputy Chef de Mission is Toafa Tuimaloa Lani Tilo.
In an exclusive interview with ASNOC General Secretary Ethan Lake, he revealed that the different sports organizations are doing their own fundraising activities to help send their teams to the Games, but ASNOC is optimistic that the American Samoa Government will provide funding to help in sending the national team to the Games.
Lake expressed his hope that Team American Samoa will improve on their performance during the last 16th Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa where they won a total of 13 medals — 1 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze.
“It was a memorable Games with our women’s basketball team hailed as the new Pacific Queens when they dethroned erstwhile champions Fiji, 74-53 in the Finals of the 2019 Women’s Basketball event,” Lake reminisced. “I know the girls will do their best to bring home another gold.”
The 17th Pacific Games opening ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 19, but the soccer and volleyball teams will be competing two days prior, as their competitions start earlier — Nov. 17.
The closing ceremony is slated for Dec. 2, and the return chartered flight departs Honiara on Dec. 5.