The New Zealand Olympic Committee has named archery, athletics, taekwondo and weightlifting athletes to the New Zealand Team for the 2019 Pacific Games.
The athletes will contest the Games which are to be held in Apia, from July 7-20. The men’s football team for the Games will be named in the coming weeks and will take the total number of New Zealand athletes travelling to Samoa to 55.
It’s the second time New Zealand has been invited to participate in the Pacific Games and Chef de Mission Kristy Hill says the team is looking forward to taking on its Pacific neighbours.
“The Pacific Games is a fantastic opportunity for our athletes to gain experience at an international competition. It’s also a great chance for New Zealand to develop some up and coming athletes, and for us to grow ties with our friends in the Pacific," said Hill.
“I’ve traveled to Samoa and the preparation is going well. We’re confident they’ll deliver a great Games which will allow New Zealand’s athletes to gain a lot of experience in a multi-sport environment.”
The athletes were named to the team at a tree planting event organised by the NZOC Olympians' Commission. The day was run as part of the Greening of the Games initiative, which encourages all nations competing in the Pacific Games to offset their air travel emissions by planting trees before they arrive.
Weightlifter and Commonwealth Games gold medalist David Liti was among the athletes named to the team. He attended the planting day and says he's looking forward to going to his second Pacific Games.
"I competed at the last Pacific Games and it's a special competition for me with my Pacific heritage. The level of weightlifting in the Pacific is really high so we're expecting some tough competition," said Liti.
Local school children also took part in the planting, working with the athletes as part of the NZOC’s commitment to sustainability and youth.
The list of the New Zealand Team (excluding football) to the Pacific Games is:
Sienna Fesolai (only competing in Oceania/Commonwealth Champs)
Stella Hampton (only competing in Oceania/Commonwealth Champs)
Samantha Hansen (only competing in Oceania/Commonwealth Champs)
Olivia Selemaia (only competing in Oceania/Commonwealth Champs)
Samara Wright (only competing in Oceania/Commonwealth Champs)