Faatamalii Jenny Lauano, assistant CEO of Samoa’s Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture, welcomed all participating athletes, officials and schools who were part of the event.
“Each of the schools participating in today’s ceremony have adopted a country to represent during our flag raising ceremony,” she told the team delegations. “They have learnt your respective culture, your languages and your traditional dances as tribute to all our wonderful countries participating in the Games.”
In a ceremony filled with laughter and excitement, students welcomed each nation with impressive renditions of national anthems and traditional dances that were appreciated by both performers and athletes alike.
“We’ve gone through a lot in preparing the students for the event, but we’re very pleased to be invited by the Government of Samoa to participate in welcoming our guests, especially our represented country of Fiji,” said Ms Atonio, a teacher from Solosolo Primary School.
“I know the students have enjoyed themselves, and they were happy to see Team Fiji responding to their item by dancing with them.”
Australian athlete Erika Yamasaki, who will be her nation’s flag bearer in Sunday’s opening ceremony, said: “I’ve been to Samoa a couple of times for athletics and vacation but this is an experience I can share with our team. The culture here is very diverse and friendly, which is very welcoming for us.”
The ceremony concluded with students from Leulumoega Primary School paying tribute to Team Samoa. Samoan chef de mission, Nynette Sass, said: “Two words to describe today’s event? ‘Excited’ and ‘pumped’! We are absolutely blown away. It was very emotional to see our young kids putting on a show for the participating countries. It is great to be in an engaging environment and it we are truly ‘one in spirit’.”
Saturday’s ceremony concluded three days of successful flag raising activities facilitated by the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in the lead-up to the Games. And it will be an experience that both students and athletes are unlikely to forget in a hurry.
Photo: Pacific Games News Caption: Schools performed for their adopted country at the flag raising ceremony