The Taipei Municipal Government of Taiwan has invited Solomon Islands to participate in the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade- an international sporting and cultural event for university students.
The invitation was announced when the Prime Minister Sogavare and his delegation currently on state visit to Taiwan met with the Secretary-General of the Taipei City Government and Chief Executive Officer of the Taipei 2017 Universiade, Mr Su Li-chiung and officials of the Taipei City Government and Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade.
“Mr Prime Minister, we sincerely invite you and your country to participate in the 2017 Summer Universiade. We want to assure you Mr Prime Minister that the 2017 Summer Universiade will be a testament of Taipei’s hospitality.”
He said in 2017, Taipei will host the 29th Summer Universiade from August 19th to 30th and it is anticipated that more than 12,000 athletes and officials from 150 countries as well as 1,000 media personnel will converge in Taiwanese capital for the event.
Mr Li-chiung said the tournament will involve 14 compulsory sports, five optional sports and one demonstrative sports that will be played at 16 different sporting venues, two of which will be new stadiums.
During the meeting, Mr Li-chiung also congratulated Solomon Islands for winning the right of hosting the 2023 Pacific Games, adding that the hosting such an international sporting event is a milestone for the country because it affirms an accomplishment in sports development and furthermore represents an international recognition for Solomon Islands.
In response, Prime Minister Sogavare said, “We also wish to congratulate Taipei City for winning the hosting right for the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade. We note with great appreciation your invitation for Solomon Islands to participate in that event.
“We will take this invitation seriously and we will convey through the Solomon Islands Embassy here in Taipei the kind of sports we might participate in.
“Soccer is almost a national sport for Solomon Islands. Our soccer athletes have been exported to play in Australia and New Zealand so this is a sport that we could consider participating in at the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade,” he added.
The Prime Minister said Solomon Islands and Taiwan might need to seriously consider embarking on sports exchange programmes between each other in preparation for the Taipei 2017 Universiade or Solomon Islands could even consider sending its soccer athletes to play for Taipei in that international sporting event.
In addition, he said Solomon Islands could also learn from Taiwan in terms of its preparation to host the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade so as to equip itself with the know-how ahead of its hosting of the 2023 Pacific Games.
The Prime Minister thanked the CEO for acknowledging Solomon Islands successful bid to host the 2023 Pacific Games, adding that the bid submission followed a deliberate government decision that was fully endorsed by Parliament.
He said the decision is based on a government policy to develop sports in Solomon Islands so as to occupy the country’s growing youth population in something worthwhile.
The first Summer Universiade was organised by Italian Association of University Sports and 985 athletes from 45 countries took part in it.