THE TAURAMA Sporting Centre was officially opened by Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O’Neill at the end of June, in preparation for the 15th Pacific Games, held in Port Moresby.

In opening the new centre, that includes swimming and indoor sporting facilities, Mr O’Neill said Papua New Guinea must take a leadership role in the region, as the largest Pacific Island nation.

“Let us show leadership, not just in words but in deeds, to advance our region and help countries around the Pacific,” he said.

Mr O’Neill stressed the importance of the centre continuing to draw in athletes from around the Pacific and become a centre for sporting excellence beyond the Games.

“The facilities here will be here for the sporting men and women of Pacific countries to make a sporting career,” he said.

Mr O’Neill highlighted criticism made by individuals who sought to undermine the nation’s chances to deliver a successful event.

“Our Government inherited the commitments of the past government to host the Pacific Games, and we had to honour these commitments.”

“I thank all those who have put in great effort in the hard work, leadership and delivery of the infrastructure for the games.”

Mr O’Neill undertook a tour of the sporting centre that includes a stainless steel swimming pool, which is one of two pools of this quality in the Southern Hemisphere, with the other being in Melbourne, according to a media statement from the Prime Minister’s office.