Eighty Solomon Islands athletes selected to undertake intensive training in China departed the Solomon Islands last week.
The athletes will spend 90 days intensive training in China to prepare them physically and mentally to compete in the 2023 Pacific Games on their return. The 80 athletes are representatives in Seven of the Twenty-Four sports at the upcoming Games.
Farewelling the athletes, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said, “Our 80 athletes, Go with God’s Blessings. Train well. Train true and make yourselves, your families, and your country proud.”
All provinces are represented in the group; hence the Prime Minister reminded that they represent Solomon Islands and not their individual provinces.
He said the selection of the seven sports is strategic because these sports offer Solomon Islands the greatest opportunity to compete for medals.
“As the cream of the seven selected federations, know that you are representing. Use this opportunity further develop and sharpen their skills to be as competitive as they can be on their return.
“The trust of your federations are in you. The trust of your families are in you. The trust of your country is in you,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare encouraged the athletes to dedicate as much time as possible to train diligently and seriously.
“Listen to and respect your trainers and coaches. Respect and help each other. Respect and obey the laws of China and do their best to make their families and country proud.
“When you return, you will be accompanied by seven coaches, one team leader, and an interpreter – to ensure your training discipline continues right up to and during the games,” the Prime Minister added.
The athletes were reminded that to carry the message of the 2023 Pacific Games Theme (Challenge – Celebrate – Unite) as they depart Solomon Islands shores this week.
“Challenge yourselves to learn all you can, and to do the best you can. Celebrate your diversity, your successes, and even your challenges, and, unite your spirits, your teamwork, your families, and our nation.”
The farewell also gave the Prime Minister, Ministers and back benchers the opportunity to see and experience firsthand, the new National Stadium.
“CCECC and CSADI thank you for this wonderful facility. Ambassador, I cannot thank your government enough for this wonderful gift to the people of Solomon Islands.”
Meanwhile, PRC Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Li Ming reminded the athletes to be envoys of the Solomon Islands-China friendship and contribute more to the ever-lasting friendship.
“During the 90 days training in China, you will receive high-level sports training in Athletics, Boxing, Judo, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Weightlifting, experience Chinese Culture, and taste Chinese food. “All of you will be the envoy of China-Solomon Islands friendship and contribute to our friendship, said Ambassador Li Ming.