IOC President visits National Olympic Committees in Oceania
President Bach wrapped up a tour of the National Olympic Committees of three islands in Oceania with a stop in Guam on Saturday. After a gala dinner as the guest of the NOC and its President Rick Blas, he visited the Governor of the island, Lourdes Leon Guerrero. The two leaders discussed the benefits of sport for health and education, and also the development of Olympic sport on the island.
The island's Congress had earlier passed a resolution of support for the IOC and the Olympic Movement.
This followed two days spent in the island republic of Palau. Throughout the whole trip, the President was accompanied by IOC Member and ANOC Acting President Robin Mitchell. In Palau, the President visited several sports facilities, meeting and talking to young athletes and a number of Olympic Solidarity scholarship-holders. During the visit, he was accompanied by Frank Kyota and IOC Member in Palau and Secretary General of the NOC Baklai Temengil.
Later, the President was invited to address Congress. In a speech to both Houses, President Bach reiterated the Olympic message that: “In Olympic sport, all people are equal, regardless of their race, gender, cultural background or political beliefs. In our fragile world, this great symbol of peace is maybe more important than ever before.”
In a meeting before the address, President Bach and the President of Palau, Tommy Remengesau, discussed sports development in the nation and support for its young athletes from other NOCs. The President of Palau highlighted the health challenge in the Pacific region, pointing out in particular “the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and obesity”. President Bach highlighted the many successful schemes in schools that can “combine physical activity and values education”.
President Bach also noted that Palau would be hosting the “Our Oceans” conference and reiterated the IOC's commitment to sustainable development and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The Palau President granted President Bach the Freedom of the Nation and conferred on him the honorary name of Palau's bravest warrior.
Before heading for Palau, the President had spent the day in Papua New Guinea as a guest of the NOC. President Bach met young athletes at the impressive Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre in the capital, Port Moresby, joining in with basketball and badminton practice before taking on some of the youngsters who were learning to fence. President Bach, who won his gold medal in fencing at the Olympic Games Montreal 1976, was able to pass on some of his know-how to the young athletes.
The Taurama Aquatic & Indoor Centre and High-Performance Sport PNG are impressive legacies of the 2015 Pacific Games.During the visit, President Bach was joined by members of the NOC, including its President, Sir John Dawanincura, and IOC Member and NOC Secretary General Auvita Ripalla. The IOC President was also a guest of honour as he inaugurated the new NOC headquarters in Port Moresby.
Speaking at the ceremony, he said: "These new headquarters are an example of the power of sport and the power of a NOC, and of what we can achieve in sport when we set clear goals. This is what sport is all about.”
Later, he met the Prime Minister, and the two then joined a signing of an MoU between the NOC in partnership with the government-run PNG Sports Foundation.