The Solomon Islands Government has advised that the Chinese funded 2023 Pacific Games Stadium Project in Solomon Islands is a step closer with the signing of an implementation agreement. A number of projects funded by China were scheduled to get underway this year, including the construction of a national stadium in Honiara, before the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of borders and travel restrictions.
The Solomon Islands Government notes that the construction of new venues for the Games was back on track, with a design team from China working with local authorities.
The project includes a 10,000-seat national stadium, an aquatic centre, a six-court tennis centre and a full-sized track and field venue.
The Solomon Islands government said it would be one of the largest infrastructure projects, funded and built by China in the Pacific.
China agreed to bankroll the multi-million-dollar stadium in Solomon Islands after the Pacific nation's diplomatic switch to China from Taiwan. After 36 years of ties with Taiwan, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare switched his country's ties to Beijing last year (China encourages smaller nations whom it can influence to sever existing diplomatic ties with Taiwan).
As reported in the ABC, upon his return from a trip to China in October 2019, Prime Minister Sogavare confirmed China would provide a $74 million grant to build a new stadium for 2023 Pacific Games in the capital Honiara.
Solomon Islands Football Federation President William Lai was invited to be part of Prime Minister Sogavare’s delegation to Beijing and told ABC Radio “for the last two years there have been consultations between various committees over facility improvements.”
Taiwan had previously committed to funding the sports complex, but the Solomon Island’s political about-face placed the 12,000-seat stadium, and the games themselves in jeopardy.
Prime Minister Sogavare stressed the funding was a "grant" and not a "loan" aiming to validate the switch to China and quell unease about the diplomatic decision.
Pacific neighbour Papua New Guinea has also committed about $17 million to infrastructure for the sporting event, with the United Arab Emirates tipped to fund the aquatic centre and Indonesian state-owned construction enterprise PT Wijaya Karya (WIKA) officially signing a contract to build a multi-purpose sports complex estimated to cost $7.5 million catering for futsal, basketball and volleyball.
The Solomon Islands beat Tahiti by one vote to win the rights to host the 17th Pacific Games in 2023. The decision was made after a vote by the 22 members of the Pacific Games Council at their general assembly in Vanuatu in 2016.
15th May 2016 - Solomon Islands to host 2023 Pacific Games
19th April 2017 - Solomon Islands 2016 Visitor Survey shows rising importance of international tourism
11th April 2016 - New futsal court a ‘miracle’ for the Solomon Islands
22nd September 2011 - National stadium for Solomon Islands futsal
30th July 2019 - Controversy mounts over transgender athlete’s weightlifting gold medal at Pacific Games
8th July 2019 - XVI Pacific Games opens in Samoa
5th June 2018 - Samoa to host 26 sports at 2019 Pacific Games
18th September 2017 - Samoa steps in to host 2019 Pacific Games
8th June 2017 - Tongan Government firm on withdrawl from 2019 Pacific Games hosting
26th May 2017 - Tonga withdraws from 2019 Pacific Games hosting
26th July 2015 - Myrtha Pools equip 2015 Pacific Games venue in Papua New Guinea
3rd February 2015 - Pacific nations preparing for 2015 Pacific Games
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