BY ROMULUS HUTA
PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has pledged continuous support to the development aspirations of the Solomon Islands Hockey Federation (SIHF).
This follows the bronze medal won by the men’s under-18 hockey team during last week’s Oceania Youth Olympic Hockey Qualifiers in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG).
MHA, which is the government’s ministry responsible for sports, assisted the team financially during the qualifiers.
MHA Permanent Secretary George Palua thanked the hockey team for making the country proud.
“I’m delightful with the result. This shows the potential we have in the sport despite having limited resources and no facilities at home.
“The results showed that we have the potential to do better in future international hockey competitions.
“Hockey is a newly revived sport in Solomon Islands and does not have a home at the moment. Currently, hockey is being played on borrowed land.
“I’m thrilled by the fact that the hockey went to PNG with both the men’s and the women’s teams. This reflects gender balance.
“Such result like this gives me hope as we are ready to host the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara,” Palua expressed.
“This shows that we can compete in Hockey at top level in Oceania.”
The qualifying tournament in PNG was part of the qualification pathway for this year’s Youth Olympic Games which will be held in Argentina in October.
The bronze medal won by the men’s team was enough for them to earn a spot for the event scheduled to run from October 6 to 18 in Buenos Aires.
The women’s under-18 team finished in fourth place and missed out on qualification.
The spot won by the men’s under-18 will be confirmed by the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands (NOCSI) when they lodge their final submission to the Organisers of the Summer Youth Games come August 31 deadline.
Pledging further assistances on behalf of the government to hockey and the under-18 team, Palua stressed they will continue to assist hockey with its development aspirations.
“I want to assure you all that you have made us proud and onbehalf of the government, I will continue to assist you,” he reiterated in his assurance.
Palua also congratulated national hockey president Nihal Seneviratne upon his election into the executive board of the Oceania Hockey Federation (OHF) as the new Vice-President.
The election was held during the OHF Annual General Meeting last Friday in Port Moresby.
“Such opportunity is a positive step for Solomon Islands hockey. I would like to congratulate Nihal for the successful outcome of the election,” Palua said.