To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Curtain falls on Samoa SPG as participating countries eye New Caledonia's 14th SPG in 2011

Flags were lowered and athletes were farewelled in style as the XIII South Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa ended at the Apia Park last night.

Unprecedented fireworks display closes 13th South Pacific Games. Its was standing room only as over 20,000 packed into Samoa’s Apia Park to witness the closing ceremony of the 13th South Pacific Games. The two week competition attracted around five and a half thousand athletes and officials.

Pacific music with that unique Samoa flavour as the sound of the drums and the voices from the choir echoed as athletes received a warm send off.

The highlight of the night was the "People of the Sea" song which saw dancers pay tribute to all the participating countries and positioned themselves in the form of the map of the Pacific.

The SPG flag was then lowered and officially handed over by SPG Organising Committee chairman Tapasu Leung Wai to the president of the Pacific Games Council Vidya Lakhan.

Lakhan then handed the flag to the president of New Caledonia 2011 Pacific Games, Pascale Bastien-Thiry.

"I entrust this ceremonial flag to your care until we gather for the Pacific Games in 2011 Games," Lakhan said while handing over the flag.

The final message to athletes was "May you display cheerfulness and harmony so that the spirit of our Pacific family of nations be carried on with ever greater eagerness, courage and honour."

Keeping the Samoan custom, the night ended with a final dance the "taualuga" which symbolises the completion of a house with the placement of the roof.

The next South Pacific Games involving all 22 members will be held in New Caledonia in four year's time (2011).

Meanwhile, the latest unofficial medal tally from the Samoa SPG website after the close of games listed Solomon Islands on the 15th position with 1 Gold, 12 Silver and 14 Bronze, a performance under par when compared to very smaller Island countries such as Samoa, Nauru, Palau, FSM, Cook Islands, Tonga, American Samoa, Tokelau and Wallis & Futuna who are all above the Solomons in medals attained.

In comparison of the rankings, Solomon Islands has fallen by two spots from the Fiji 2003 SPG after being ranked 13th in overall. However, the total number of medals won now is a slight improvement from the 2003 SPG when the country only attained 1 Gold, 5 Silver and 8 Bronze.

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