The Sol2023 Pacific Games Baton Relay currently on its nationwide tour of Solomon Islands has given many of our athletes (both current and former) the opportunity to be part of the Games and help share the Games spirit throughout the country.
As part of the Games Organizing Committee (GOC)’s Community Engagement program, the Baton relay is the third phase of the program – aimed sharing the Games Spirit and providing Games information and awareness throughout Solomon Islands. The others being; the Games Mascot Tour and the Ambassadors Tour.
In its recent trip to Santa Ana island (Makira Ulawa province), the Baton arrived on the shores of the Nafinuatogo village and safely in the hands of home ground sprinting legends; Bartholomew Waifo, Agnes Mary Siapu and Jim Marau.
Bartholomew (left) is a former Solomon Islands 100m sprinter whose carrier height stemmed from 1966 to 1969, representing Solomon Islands at the then SPG (South Pacific Games) in Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.
“I can’t believe it. It was way back in the 60’s that I represented my country and won bronze at these very Games. Now more than 50 years later, it is right here at our shores and I am very happy that I am still part of it,” an emotional Bartholomew said.
Agnes Mary Siapu (right) is another former 100m and 200m national sprinter who described being part of the Baton Relay as a blessing.
“I competed at the 1971 Championships in Papua New Guinea. I am indeed honoured and truly blessed to be able to see, experience and be part of this historical event that has come to my village, my country Solomon Islands.”
Sited in the centre is no stranger to the GOC. He is none other than Jim Marau, Solomon Islands’ only ever athlete to have won a gold medal in the 100m event at any Pacific Games.
Jim is also one of the 10 local Sol2023 Ambassadors – one of the very first to run with the Baton at its launch in July.
“To be part of the Baton relay for the second time in my own village is beyond my wildest dreams. I am grateful that I have lived to see this day, this historical event take place. We don’t know when we will again host the Pacific Games, let alone live to see it,” he said.
Meanwhile as of this week (Tuesday 3rd October), the Baton is journeying around Western province.