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Pacific Games prep already underway in Samoa

Samoa’s Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi  [SN file photo]

Samoa has started preparations for hosting the 2019 Pacific Games, despite the window for expressions of interest in hosting not closing until the end of the month.

Samoa were the first country to declare the interest in hosting the Games, after Tonga pulled the plug last month, citing financial reasons and different priorities.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said the prospect of a contested bid process is not stopping the Samoa Government from preparing to host the games.

"I remain firm on my resolve that we are more than prepared to host the Pacific Games," said Tuilaepa.

"We have the facilities coupled with our impeccable hosting record of world sporting events. In recent years Samoa hosted the Oceania Weightlifting Championships, the Commonwealth Youth Games and the All Blacks test against Manu Samoa.

"Subsequently, China recently committed to fund major improvements to our sporting facilities at the Apia Park and Tu'anaimato.

"We have always stand ready to host international sporting events because of the capabilities and the quality of sporting facilities constructed for the 2007 Pacific Games."

Earlier this month, Tuilaepa wrote to the President of the Pacific Games Council, reaffirming Samoa's request to host the Pacific Games.

The PGC said last week it wanted an "experienced" host for the 2019 Games, due to the short time-frame required to organise the event.

Previous hosts Fiji and Papua New Guinea have ruled themselves out of contention, while Guam said no final decision had been made but it would only consider bidding if no other member stepped forward.