President Mitchell Applauds the Opening Ceremony of the 17th Pacific Games

Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) President, Dr Robin Mitchell, commended the Opening Ceremony of the Sol 2023 XVII Pacific Games at the National Stadium in Honiara, referring to it as a rich cultural showpiece.

Fireworks, songs, dances, and other performances took center stage as the Games’ baton made its way to the Stadium to signal the official start of the Sol 2023 XVII Pacific Games. l Photo: ONOC Comms

“The people of the Solomon Islands must be proud of what was broadcast around the region and even on the Olympic Channel,” he added.

Dr Mitchell said that the athletes now have to focus on their competitions and also enjoy the world-class facilities the Games has to offer.

Dr Mitchell is on a brief stop in Honiara for the Pacific Games before heading to Lausanne, Switzerland for scheduled International Olympic Committee (IOC) meetings.

ONOC President, Dr Robin Mitchell was on hand to present medals during the Swimming Competition at the Sol 2023 XVII Pacific Games. I Photo: ONOC Comms

The Games Organizing Committee (GOC) Chairman, Martin Rara, emphasized the profound significance of this historical event for the Solomon Islands, describing the ceremony as a celebration of the spirit of unity that the Games embody.

Teams from our diverse countries across the Blue Pacific set the stage with their rich, intricate culture with memorable performances for everyone. l Photo: ONOC Comms

“In a world where divisions often dominate headlines, the convergence of 24 nations for a common purpose sends a resounding message of solidarity and cooperation,” said Rara, who also serves as the President of the National Olympic Committee of the Solomon Islands (NOCSI).

He urged everyone in attendance, adding, “Let us all embrace the spirit of these games with open hearts and minds. Let us celebrate the prime of this game and unite as a global community.”

The Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare officially opened the Sol 2023 XVII Pacific Games, a journey the country has been on for seven years since the announcement of its host status in 2016. l Photo: ONOC Comms

‍The Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare echoed a similar sentiment, underlining the essence of solidarity that permeates the event.

‍Reflecting on the journey leading up to the Games, he remarked, “Preparing for this Games has been an experience of a lifetime, leaping the theme for the Pacific Games. We faced multiple challenges, celebrated our resilience, and through the games, we united our country.”

As the Games unfold over the next two weeks, an air of anticipation surrounds the theme of the 17th Pacific Games: “Challenge, Celebrate, and Unite.”

Expectations soar as this year’s festivities promise to carve a distinct path, fostering unity, celebrating achievements, and embracing the challenges that lie ahead.

The Opening Ceremony of the Sol 2023 XVII Pacific Games saw the new National Stadium filled with thousands of people, from all works of life. Athletes from 24 countries, guests, and the general public experienced the spectacle with the Solomon Islands hosting the Games for the first time in the Games’ 60-year history. l Photo: ONOC Comms

The Pacific Games Council (PGC) President, Vidhya Lakhan, acknowledged the dedication of everyone involved around the Games, stating, “It is your valued support and the will and determination of Prime Minister Sogavare, his government members, and indeed the people of the Solomon Islands that has culminated in providing world-class facilities, a competition venue for the benefit of the athletes in the Pacific.”

The official opening of the 17th Pacific Games serves as a remarkable milestone, coinciding with the 60th celebration of sports and unity in the Pacific Islands, since the inception of the inaugural Games in 1963.

This convergence of countries through sports represents not just a sporting event but a significant moment steeped in six decades of history, unity, and the enduring spirit of the Pacific Islands showcased through the platform of sports.


About ONOC
Established in 1981, the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) is one of five Continental Associations. It looks after the interests of 17 member nations in the Oceania Region, including Australia and New Zealand as well as seven associate members.

ONOC has an office in Guam where Secretary General Mr. Ricardo Blas is based and the Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, where the Office of the President Dr Robin Mitchell is located.

All services and-programmes are based on the ONOC Strategic Plan for 2018-2021, and its 4 Core Functions of (1) Building and Strengthening NOCs Capacity (2) Cultivating Strategic Partnerships (3) Contributing towards Sporting Excellence and (4) Leading by Example.


For more information, please contact;

Shivneel Narayan
Chief Communications Officer (Acting)


Digital Channels
For up-to-the-minute information on ONOC and regular updates, follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.