At the closing ceremony of the games this weekend in Kimbe, West New Britain Province, the Prime Minister further highlighted the power of sport in bringing people together.
“Over the past two weeks, we have seen the best of our young men and women in our country,” the Prime Minister said.
“You have competed in many sports and showed us the great unifying power of the event that has taken place in our country.
“We have seen this a lot of times when we have hosted events over the last few years.
“When we held the Pacific Games, it was the most successful ever.
“When we held PNG Kumuls Rugby League World Cup games in our country, it brought so many people together.
“When we hosted the FIFA Under 20 Women’s World Cup, it again also demonstrated that Papua New Guinea can deliver world-class events.”
PM O’Neill further commended the work of Governor Sasindran Muthuvel and the Provincial Government of West New Britain in staging the games.
He said a benchmark has been set for Southern Highlands Province to follow in 2020.
“West New Britain Province has done a great job over the last few years to make sure they build all the facilities for these games,” stated the PM.
“You have set a very high standard and future host provinces will have to work hard to match this level.
“I know that in 2020, when the PNG Games comes to my home province, we will do our best to welcome you over there, as you have done for everyone here.”
In closing the Games, the Prime Minister offered his encouragement to athletes who will compete at upcoming international athletics tournaments.
“For those who will compete overseas soon, it means that our games do not stop today and that you cannot stop training.
“We must keep going and keep our title of Pacific Games Champions from 2015, we must repeat that honour in Samoa in 2019.
“We also have the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, and the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, where a lot of our young people will go to represent our country.
“For those who have competed in the last two weeks, and those who will have the honour of representing our country in the future, I want you to know that you make us very proud.”