PNG announces bid for 2026 Commonwealth Games



Papua New Guinea (PNG) announced it is planning to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games in a surprise announcement as the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby came to a close at the weekend.

"Can Papua New Guinea host a Commonwealth Games?" PNG Governor- General Sir Michael Ogio asked the crowd at a packed stadium for the games' closing ceremony, Australia's national broadcaster reported.

As the cheers went up, Ogio told the athletes and spectators that "Yes, together we can!"

"Papua New Guinea must bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games here in Port Moresby, and at venues around the country," Ogio said.

The Pacific Games has been held in Port Moresby for the past two weeks, showcasing the national sports of the Pacific nations as well as global sports of athletics, with the football tournament forming part of the 2016 Rio Olympics qualifying process.

Fiji defeated Vanuatu 4-3 in a penalty shootout to qualify for the Olympic Games football tournament for the first time.

PNG was top of the medal tally, earning 88 gold medals (217 medals total). Next best was New Caledonia, 59 gold (165 medals total), and Tahiti third with 39 (113 medals total).

New Caledonia's record-breaking multi-gold-medal-winning swimmer Lara Grangeon was named the event's leading female athlete.

PNG sporting hero Ryan Pini took the men's award for winning seven gold medals in the pool.

All eyes now turn to Tonga for the 2019 Pacific Games which have been cast under a cloud of doubt in recent days with the government claiming it does not have adequate funds to prepare for the event.

However, Ogio told the Tongan delegation at the closing ceremony in Port Moresby that PNG was ready and willing to assist Tonga to ensure the games went ahead.