By Taromane Martin

THE National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) formally submitted the endorsement request for Bilikiki team to compete in the World Beach 2019 Qatar Games to the Association National Olympic Committee (ANOC) on Sunday.

Bilikiki was endorsed to represent Oceania at the ANOC World Beach Games Qatar schedule for 11-16 October because Tahiti is not an Olympic-eligible nation due to its ties to the French Olympic Committee.

President of NOCSI Martin Rara confirmed to SunSPORTS that his office has already submitted the endorsement request on behalf of the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF).

He said once they received confirmation on the outcome of the endorsement from ANOC, they meet with SIFF to discuss areas where they can support the Bilikikis financially.

“I understand the dialogues for the Bilikikis to attend the competition is in progress and it is just this formality part that NOCSI had to be involved.

“I had already sent a confirmation statement through email while we were in Samoa to inform ANOC that we would give the full formal endorsement for the Bililikis upon our return and we have done that two days ago.

“ANOC will likely cover airfares, accommodation and food for the participating teams. The only part which I see will need assistance from SIFF and NOCSI is the players and officials allowances.

“Of course ANOC will offer financial help through our NOC that is why we need word of confirmation from them and they are working on it.

“Once the endorsement from ANOC comes then the federation and NOCSI will meet to discuss mostly what the Bilikikis uniforms will be like.

“It is a big tournament for the Bilikikis being the first time for the tournament to be held and our NOC to be invited for the tournament.

“Though the Bilikikis fell short of qualifying for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup this is a great opportunity for them to play against some of the big teams in around the world,” he said.

The Bilikikis were invited for the Beach World Games by ANOC through NOCSI despite failing to qualify for the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after losing to Tahiti in the OFC Beach Nations Cup last month.

“Tahiti, who will represent Oceania at the Beach Soccer World Cup does not have an Olympic committee but could also attend the Beach World Games if the French Olympic committee give their endorsement,” NOCSI President explained.

“But for our case because NOCSI is part of the ANOC who are organizing the tournament as part of giving back to their member associations which we are part of.

“The games in fact should be hosted in San Diego but because they are not ready it was moved to Qatar.

“I know the SIFF President Mr Lai has already had dialogues with the organizers. It’s just the formality part that they have requested us NOCSI to make their endorsement to attend the games,” Rara adds.

Meanwhile Lai said participating in the World Beach Games is a boost to beach soccer as a sport to be included in the 2023 Pacific Games.

“I hope NOCSI will endorse Bilikiki to take part in the World Beach Games as we are starting our road to 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara,” Lai said.

“While we know that beach soccer may be included in 2023, but as far as SIFF is concerned, all requirements from OFC has been endorsed.

“NOCSI please do your part and do not waste the opportunity to get a medal. SIFF on its part will do its best to prepare our beach soccer team for 2023,” he adds.

SIFF Futsal and Beach Soccer development officer, Dickson Kadau said the Bilikiki coaching team has been assigned to select a competitive team for the World Beach Games.

“I want to stress that we need to assemble a strong team for the games in Qatar for several reasons.

“First we need to compete on the world stage after a long absence since 2013 and we need to show that OFC deserved two spots in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup,” he said.

The ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 meanwhile will feature 14 sports such as 3×3 basketball, beach soccer, beach handball, karate kata, kiteboard sailing, park skateboarding, bouldering, Long board and short board surfing, open water swimming, beach tennis, aquathlon, 4×4 beach volleyball, water skiing and beach wrestling.

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