Pacific Games urged to include more qualifying events to boost interest

Organisers of the 2017 Pacific Mini Games believe that aligning more sports with regional qualifying events will lead to greater participation in future.

A Commonwealth Games Qualifier for beach volleyball was played prior to the Mini Games in Vanuatu earlier this month, ensuring a strong field was in attendance in Port Vila.

Meanwhile the rugby sevens competition also had a World Cup qualifying spot up for grabs.

Van2017 CEO Clint Flood said further qualifying opportunities will lead to more interest at future Games.

"We would have liked to have a few more teams in football - it would have been great to have PNG here and the other teams," he said.

"Some of the other challenges or things I guess we could have looked at a little more differently is around the promotion of how important these Games are regionally and where the next stepping stones are.

"...I think if the Pacific Games (Council) can work with the sport federations to say can these Pacific Mini Games and the Pacific Games themselves be qualifiers for other events then it will lead to, I think, better participation from all the countries across more sports."

"We had 14 sports, 23 countries plus Tahitians under the Pacific Games Council flag but we would have liked to have seen a bigger round out in some sports," reflected Flood.

"(There were only) four teams from netball which was a great tournament and a fantastic tournament for netball but it would obviously be nice to have a little bit of a bigger field there."

Clint Flood said the French Polynesian government's decision to boycott the Games also impacted on overall numbers.

"I was disappointed and I think there's some larger and longer challenges ahead for Tahiti of course and hopefully they can put the sport programme back in place and get politics out of sport there," he said.