Pacific sports ministers enlightened on ONOC’s regional investments in sport through the Olympic movement

ONOC’s vision of inspiring success, pride and living the Olympic values was the underlying theme and message in ONOC’s update at the Pacific Islands Sports Ministers Meeting that took place at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel and Bungalows as a prelude to the 16th Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.

Addressing the meeting on behalf of President Dr. Robin Mitchell as well as the Executive Board and respective members of the National Olympic Committees of Oceania, ONOC Vice President and IOC Member Baklai Temengil said that ONOC is the “green” of the Olympic ring and comprises of 17 member countries, and 7 associate member countries.  

Temengil said that ONOC’s mission and core vision is to be the best performing Continental Association by building and strengthening NOC capacity, providing training and development for athletes, coaches and administrators, promoting the Olympic values, cultivating effective regional and global partnerships and contributing towards sporting excellence.

“ONOC has various Commissions namely the (a) Athletes Commission, (b) Equity Commission formerly known as Women in Sport Commission, (c) Education Commission, (d) Medical Commission, the (d) International Relations Commission, and partnership work with Oceania Australia Foundation, the Organisation of Sports Federations in Oceania (OSFO) and the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organisation (ORADO),” she added. Temengil also presented the ministers with activity highlights of the commissions.

ONOC Athlete’s Commission 

On the ONOC Athlete’s Commission she said that Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Karo Lelai was elected as Chairperson while Fiji’s Inoke Niubalavu was elected as Deputy Chair of the commission.

She said the purpose of the ONOC Athletes Commission is “to ensure the voice of Oceania Athletes is expressed, submitted and taken into account in the ONOC Executive Board and its associated decision-making bodies.

“The requirement of all of our NOCs to have an active Athletes’ Commission as required by our Constitution, this is keeping the Commission busy especially in following up with our membership, and delivering the work of the Commission within NOCs,” Temengil added.

She also highlighted the “Voices of the Athletes” (VOA) Programme saying it is an initiative developed by the Oceania National Olympic Committee’s Athletes Commission (ONOC-AC) in partnership with the Oceania RADO, to help encourage, engage and empower Oceania athletes as leaders in their respective sport and country, advocating for doping-free sport, prevention of HIV/AIDS, and environmental issues.

“The popularity of the VOA Outreach programme has increased since its inception at the 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa, and as a result VOA has been invited to be a part of other national and regional sport events in the region,” Temengil said.

ONOC Equity Commission 

On the Equity Commission; Temengil explained that where possible the commission provides education and training opportunities for women to further develop their skills in all areas of sport and also promotes the Olympic Values in the pursuit of participation and excellence in sport

She said that the commission provides leadership platforms for women in sport throughout the Oceania region and assists them in reaching their potential as decision makers, participants, coaches, officials and administrators.  

“They also provide an effective profile and communication network for women in the Oceania region.  

“This has been done through quarterly newsletters highlighting women in sport leadership, athletes, administrators, officials, and anyone who is making a significant contribution to sport in their communities throughout the region,” Temengil said

“Entering a new Olympiad, a refreshed Women & Sport Commission has been appointed, under the leadership of Helen Brownlee. New members Liz Dawson (New Zealand), Nynette Sass (Samoa) and Emma Waiwai (PNG) along with continuing member Carol Ngiraidis (Palau), have brought vitality and experience which will be welcomed across the Pacific,” she added.

“In promoting leadership, the Commission has supported four women to attend various Leadership Courses throughout the year, in addition to two representatives to attend the International Olympic Academy (IOA) Young Participants Session.

“In support of women athletes, the Commission has committed to supporting two athletes through the Oceania Australia Foundation Junior College Scholarship Program and supporting individuals/team to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games, she added.

ONOC Education Commission 

On ONOC’s Education Commission she said the “Oceania Sport Education Program (OSEP), which falls under this Commission, has carried out a significant number of trainings in the region. 

“OSEP is committed to the training and development pathway for Pacific sport volunteers and professionals, to inspire more sport participants in communities and produce champions at international level through the provision of quality sport education.

“In the last Olympiad 2013-2016, with an allocation of US$400,000 annually, the OSEP financial resources were dedicated to setting up the regional sport education framework, standardizing the processes, growing the OSEP Trainers team (OSEP Educators, Master Educators, Mentors) regionally and nationally and developing the National Olympic Committee (NOC) to manage all OSEP delivery processes, standards and courses,” she added.

She said late last year and also early this year OSEP conducted in-country Team Manager Courses for the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.

ONOC Medical Commission

On the work of the ONOC Medical Commission she said that their four main goals are (a) to support the establishment of NOC Medical Commissions in Oceania (b) to support Pacific Games Organising Committees Medical Teams to ensure quality services for athletes and athlete support personnel (c) to facilitate information sharing with relevant stakeholders and (d) to support capacity building at the NOC level.

“The Commission has provided support during the Micronesian Games and also the Pacific Games with medical commission member’s physicians and physiotherapist to provide support to the host country’s medical teams.  

“The Commission members who are here at this Games to provide support are Guam’s Dr. Luis Cruz (Physician) and Fiji’s Catherine Wong (Physiotherapist), who are both members of the Commission.

Temengil said ONOC is also coordinating the setup of Sports Physiotherapy team of twelve physiotherapists from both the Tokyo 2020 Medical team as well as volunteer physiotherapists from Fiji.

ONOC International Relations Commission

Temengil said that the Commission was established by the ONOC Executive Board in October 2018 in Tokyo, building on ONOC’s engagement and leadership of sport and development in the Pacific through its Pacific Sports Compass Working Group active from 2015 to 2019.    

She said the ONOC International Relations Commission was endorsed by the ONOC General Assembly in March 2019 in Nadi and the expanded membership now includes Baklai Temengil, ONOC Vice President (Palau),   Maritino Nemani, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports (Fiji),Patrick Fepulea’i, President SASNOC (Samoa), Penisoni Naupoto, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Fiji) and Jackie Lauff, Sport Matters (Australia)

“The membership of the Commission includes sub-regional representation across Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia and representation from National Olympic Committees, Government and Civil Society stakeholders.  

“ONOC’s International Relations Commission seeks to engage with regional and international stakeholders through the new Pacific Regional Sports Taskforce (PRST), and contribute towards the development of the Pacific Sport, Physical Activity and Physical Activity (SPAPE) Action Plan 2019 – 2030,” Temengil said. 

“The PRST Taskforce provides a regional coordination mechanism for sport, physical activity and physical education in Oceania and a platform for ONOC to engage with regional stakeholders across government, non-government, UN agencies, tertiary institutions, private sector and civil society organisations. 

“The proposed activities of the ONOC International Relations Commission fall under the first two regional priority action areas of ‘Advocacy and Communication’ and ‘Regional Consultation, Coordination and Action’,” she added.

“ONOC has demonstrated strong leadership, collaboration and strategic action in driving the sport for development agenda in Oceania and we look forward to building on this foundation and continuing to raise the voice for sport,” Temengil added.

Pacific Games – the continental games for Oceania

Temengil said that following consultations between the Pacific Games Council and senior ONOCmAdministration, ONOC decided to allocate a grant of USD $10,000.00 per Pacific Games Association to assist with per diem expenses related to their participation. A total of USD 240,000 has been used for this purpose.

“The ONOC Athletes’ Commission Voices of the Athletes’ (VoA) – Outreach Program will be present at these games as well. There will be two stations, one in the Athletes’ Village and one at the main Dining Hall, at the Tuanaimato Sports Complex. Voting for the Pacific Games Athletes’ Representative will also take place in these two locations,” she added.

“ONOC is represented through the respective (National Olympic Committee) NOC’s in country,” Temengil reminded the sports ministers in her closing.

“Your partnership and continued dialogue and collaboration, in “Sports for Excellence” are always vital in our work and efforts for our youth, for our community and for our Blue Pacific.  

“I wish you all the best in the Pacific Games, and we hope to see many of your athletes and you at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games next year,” Temengil concluded. 

ONOC’s total investment in the Pacific Games include USD $75,000.00 grant to the Organising Committee; $240,000.00 grant to 24 PGA’s; USD $90,000.00 Voices of the Athletes program;  USD $30,000.00 support to medical activities on ground; $5,000.00 for ONOC digital activities. An internal survey is also being conducted by the OSEP team with an on-ground delivery cost of USD $20,000.00.  

At the 2017 ONOC General Assembly elected the following ONOC Office Bearers for 2017 – 2020: President: Dr. Robin Mitchell (Fiji), Vice President: Mrs. Baklai Temengil (Palau), Secretary General: Ricardo Blas (Guam), Members: James Tobin (Federated States of Micronesia), Antoine Boudier (Vanuatu), Helen Brownlee (Australia), Carmelita Donald (Papua New Guinea

IOC Members on the ONOC Executive Board include: President Robin Mitchell also current Acting President of ANOC, John Coates (Australia), Mrs. Auvita Rapilla (Papua New Guinea) Baklai Temengil (Palau), James Tomkins (Australia – IOC Athletes Commission) and Sarah Walker (New Zealand – IOC Athletes Commission).