Sport as an alternative career path for Pacific youth was one of the many benefits highlighted during the Pacific-Aus Sports Hub online launch held earlier this week.
The Samoa Prime Minister also reiterated the ability of Sport to drive social transformation and improve health, reduce social problems, remove gender barriers, overcome stereotypes and shine a light on exclusion.
Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, and Australian Foreign Minister, the Hon. Marise Payne officially launched the new hub that will deliver the PacificAus Sports High Performance activities from 2020 to 2023.
During his remarks Prime Minister Tuilaepa highlighted the many benefits of sports.
“For our young people it is a proven viable and successful pathway towards a better future for those that may not be able to pursue such academically”, said Tuilaepa.
“Sport aids to improve the health status of participants, increases skills development of our youth, reduces social problems and enhances community cohesion..”
“Sport has become a springboard for social transformation..” continued the Samoa Prime Minister.
“Not only is sport a bridge between individuals and nations, it can also be an active took for overcoming stereotypes, rising above exclusion, and fostering citizenship.
“Numerous examples of these perceptions can be found in our small island developing states”, said Tuilaepa.
Tuilaepa also mentioned the gaps that exist between resources available to Pacific teams in comparison to larger countries.
“It boosts national pride when we demonstrate consistent competitiveness against teams from vastly populous and well-resourced countries”
Guests at the Apia included Minister of Health Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, Minister of Sports Loau Keneti Sio and Minister of Communications and Information Technology Afamasaga Toeolesulusulu Rico Tupai.
The hub, to be hosted in Samoa will support the provision of training and competition for Pacific athletes, teams and sports administrators.
DFAT have announced that the PacificAus Regional Sports program will also have the following focus:
- To develop pathways for Pacific teams to play in high-level Australian sporting competitions
- To support Australian teams to increase their presence and participation in the Pacific, and
- To create pathways for emerging Pacific athletes to benefit from high performance coaching and training.
The PacificAus Sports program will operate across a number of sports, with a special focus on driving sports engagement with Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.