PGC is increasingly moving towards gender equality-Andrew Minogue

Andrew Minogue; Image Credit: insidethegames.biz

Pacific Games Council or South Pacific Games first came into existence in 1959, perhaps and since then this initiative by some of the members of the South Pacific Commission has gone on with the vision to create bonds of kindred friendship and brotherhood amongst people of the countries of the Pacific region through sporting exchange without any distinctions as to race, religion or politics. Andrew Minogue, the Executive Director of the Pacific Games Council spoke with us about the movement in South Pacific Region, which has started to yield some athletes who can take up the claim at World stage.

The 43rd General Assembly of PGC happened in May 2016; how much distance has the organization covered since 1963?

A very long way – from an organisation that had no funds and resources with member countries which had no other sporting events to attend to now where PGC is a professional organisation with commercial revenue and member countries compete at the Commonwealth and Olympic Games.

Vision for the next five years…

To increasingly have the Pacific Games seen as the premier multi-sport event for the Oceania region.

Recent challenges…

To begin the process of integrating Australia and New Zealand into the Pacific Games.

Given the fact that Pacific athletes had benefited enormously from competing alongside Australian and New Zealand athletes in Port Moresby, what steps are being taken to carry this initiative forward?

PGC is expanding Australian and New Zealand involvement from 4 sports in 2015 to 8 sports in 2019.

Steps taken to ensure improvement of the sports infrastructure and involvement of masses at the 2023 Pacific Games at Solomon Islands…

The decision to award Solomon Islands the rights to host its first Pacific Games will be a major catalyst for economic and social development in the nation, in addition to the sporting benefits that will be obtained.

Gender equality; Steps taken by PGC…

PGC is increasingly moving in a positive direction towards gender equality. All 14 compulsory sports on the program are offered for Men and Women. A woman has been elected onto the Executive Board of the PGC for the first time in 2016.

The grassroots programs, member association programs and other development programs…

There are programs funded by IOC Olympic Solidarity throughout the region.  A small number of governments provide on-going support to national sports federations, but most governments assist with participation costs during the Pacific Games.

Countries on higher rankings in these programs and countries where a lot need to be done…

If you look simply at the Pacific Games medal tallies, then the region’s leaders are New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti and Fiji. But they are also the largest countries. Other member countries, who are much smaller, win more than their fair share of medals by targeting their programs to very specific sports where they excel.  For example, Nauru in Weightlifting, Vanuatu in Beach Volleyball, Wallis & Futuna in Indoor Volleyball.

Popularity of the Pacific Games and Mini Games globally; plans to increase the spread…

It is becoming more popular especially since the advent of the internet and also our host broadcast which started for the first time in 2003. Bringing in Australia and New Zealand will increase the media appeal of the Pacific Games.

How do you rate different editions of Pacific Games? 

They are all equally as good because each host country has special and unique attributes.

Member nations in terms of infrastructure, facilities & support system, presence at multi-national platforms; readiness to take on the big names of better countries…

The member countries differ enormously in capacity.  PNG has a population of 8 million. Niue Norfolk Island and Tokelau have about 1,000. Traditionally only 6 of the 22 member countries have had the capacity to host the Pacific Games:  PNG, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Samoa, Guam and Fiji.  Tonga and Solomon Islands will be joining that group in 2019 and 2023 respectively.

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