Pacific Games torch relay begins on Savai'i

The first day of the torch relay for the XVI Pacific Games took the big island, Savai’i, by storm.

To have the students carry the baton brought the communities together in unison, manifesting the slogan of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games, “one in spirit.” 

The Savai'i leg of the relay will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming to Upolu.

People of all ages flooded the streets as the torch baton for the Games made its way through and the event was live-streamed on Facebook.

The relay is led by the Sports Division of the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC). Posters from the Games  in-school programme were displayed by the students alongside the road.

From Salelologa to Saleula is 44.9 kilometres. The distance, and the sometimes rainy weather, did not stop the people of Savai’i from standing alongside the road to wait for the torch to arrive.

Keki Tupa’i, Multimedia Officer for the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture, was “blown away”.

“With what I have seen today, the Savaii people have been well prepared. Having the Taupou and the high chiefs present during the event and running behind the torch baton was just amazing,” he said.

Keki is the only member from the MESC team who was present in the 2007 torch relay, the last time Samoa hosted the Games and, for him, Savai’i ‘lit it up’.

“The decorations were beautiful. The support of the parents has been great. They stood next to their own child. They cheered and danced…it’s been a pleasant experience for me.”

He explained: “It was a good start for the torch relay and different from 2007, when the athletes carried the baton. I believe this experience is history for the students and for the parents to watch their children is a blessing.”

Mataafa Elia Autagavaia, the Advisor and Cultural Language specialist from MESC, agreed.

“It was a successful event and Savai’i has taken the bar up a notch as Samoa prepares to host the Games.”


Photo supplied Pacific Games media