Some Pacific Games sporting venues are not yet finished, says a social and economic issues expert ahead of the event scheduled for 4 July in the capital of Papua New Guinea.
Paul Barker, executive director of non-profit policy think tank, the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs, said not every venue had been finished. “I gather one or two facilities will not be ready, hockey, [and] some other team sports facilities,” he said.
Others were close to completion. “Some are being completed now and in the next days including the soccer venue [and] possibly [the] closing venue at Hubert Murray Stadium – it has a bit more time.”
But Mr Barker said most were on track.
“Swimming is now being trialled and the big John Guise Stadium was rested at Saturday's Hunters rugby match," he said.
Track field, swimming and gymnastics venues are close to or ready, according to Mr Barker.
There has been tension regarding the construction of venues between politicians in the lead up to the games over the past month.
“I gather one or two facilities will not be ready, hockey, [and] some other team sports facilities”
Following the May 31 deadline for completing the venues, PNG Opposition Leader Don Poyle asked the government to contract an independent engineer and architect to verify that the structures were properly built.
“I strongly call on the government to certify these buildings and these structures before they’re cleared for use for the Games,” he told PNG media.
Papua New Guinea Minister for Sports and Pacific Games Justin Tkatchenko lashed back in defence.
"How many times have I asked the Opposition to come around the facilities and see and hear from the experts all about the state of the art facilities?” Mr Tkatchenko told English-language PNG media outlet Post Courier.
“My door is always open, and [Mr Poyle] doesn’t want to come and see me, that’s its prerogative fair enough, but don’t spread lies and rumors about something he knows nothing about."
Earlier in June, Pacific Games Organising Committee chief executive Peter Stewart said the games venues that were unready were not needed for the competition.
“We have more than enough venues available to do all the things that we need to do to deliver a fantastic games,” he said. “We do believe that some people look at some of the venues like that and think that they are games venues, and therefore their state of readiness is indicative of how the games are.”
The first games were held in 1963 in Suva, Fiji and are held every four years. Now more than 3,000 athletes from 21 countries compete in 28 sports.
NITV is the official Australian broadcaster of the Pacific Games. Channel 34 (free to air) and Channel 144 (Foxtel).