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First woman CEO appointed to lead 2023 Pacific Games
05:24 am GMT+12, 16/12/2020, Fiji

The first woman to lead a Pacific Games Organising Committee says the chance to "showcase the Solomon Islands" was an opportunity she could not turn down.
 
The former Solomon Islands basketball and netball international, Shalom Akao Waita, was appointed CEO of the 2023 Pacific Games Organising Committee in October.
 
"I wanted to be part of this, of being able to host the Games here and be part of the group," she said.
 
"Having done a lot of work in country with other sports organisations in both netball and now with Solomon Islands Tennis Association and seeing the development of athletes this is what attracted me...being able to showcase Solomon Islands and what we can do in delivering the Games."
 
Akao Waita represented Solomon Islands at the 2005 Pacific Mini Games in Palau and 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.
 
She was also a part of the Solomon Islands team management during the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu and said her background gives her a good understanding of what makes a successful event.
 
"That's sort of what I feel I bring into this position, because of the experiences that I've had as an athlete, as an official and seeing it from through those eyes
 
what it is so that when we're hosting I'm bringing those experiences into all the planning and organising and delivering the Games in 2023."
 
The upcoming Pacific Mini Games have been delayed until 2022 because of Covid-19 and Akao Waita said the pandemic is also at front of mind in Honiara.
 
"With Covid causing delays just ensuring that our risk management strategy is updated and we are able to capture and identify the strategies to mitigate the risks as well."
 
Shalom Akao Waita is the first woman to be appointed CEO of a Pacific Games Organising Committee and said it was great privilege to be given the opportunity to showcase the very best of Solomon Islands.
 
"I'm honoured to be appointed into this role - to be the first female and first local CEO for the Games. I think this is a great opportunity and I'm very humbled by this appointment," she said.
 
"I am looking forward to basically bringing everyone from the youngest to the oldest - involving our former athletes, involving our communities in this. This is a national project for us. This is our time to really showcase Solomon Islands, what we can offer, how good we are at hosting and just being able to bring our communities on this journey to 2023."
 
Akao Waita said the facilities committee is continuing to make good progress in managing the construction of the new sporting venues, while her focus over the coming months is establishing the Organising Committee, it's policies and procedures, finalising the budget for 2021, inducting the board of directors and recruiting more staff in the new year.

SOURCE: RNZ PACIFIC/PACNEWS


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