South Pacific Games 1979 - Fiji

August 28th- September 8th

19 countries, 18 sports and a projected 2672 competitors for the sixth SPG in Fiji in 1979 indicated just the beginning of the logistical difficulties that faced organizers for that games and for future competitions. Fiji readied itself for the games in their brand new national stadium and sports complex built at the cost of $3.5m. The all-weather track attracted favorable reviews from international runners like John Walker and Rod Dixon.

Fiji with the most competitors (389) competed in all sports as did PNG. Tuvalu and Kiribati entered as  separate teams having previously competed as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. Under the chairmanship of Commander Stan Brown the sixth games said it was all systems go as the facilities and venues were ready e well before the games. In the 12 games of competition favorable weather conditions and well-conditioned athletes competed in was to know as the last of the "Super Games."  Organisers agreed that limits were needed to ensure more manageable competitor numbers.

Fiji despite hosting the games did not seriously threaten the dominance of New Caledonia and French Polynesia on the medal table. The two French territories finished neck and neck on the gold medal tally with New Caledonia edging out their counterparts by 33 to 31. Fiji finished in third spot on 22 ahead of PNG on 16. Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau and Tuvalu failed to win a medal at the games. Alain Lazare of NC was the dominant male athlete with four gold medals in the long distance events while compatriot Brigitte Hardel won the three sprint gold medals. Fiji's Samu Yavala turned to his old sprint shoes from 1971 to win the blue ribbon men's 100m. The well-attended soccer competition saw Fiji make their second finals appearance and finished with a silver again to the Tahitians. Another well-attended and colorful closing ceremony at Laucala Bay brought the 1979 games to a close.

1979: Suva, Fiji

Country

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Total

New Caledonia

33

43

26

102

French Polynesia

31

19

29

79

Fiji

22

16

24

62

PNG

16

19

21

56

Guam

11

7

9

27

Western Samoa

10

11

6

27

American Samoa

4

1

7

12

Tonga

1

5

3

9

New Hebrides

 

4

4

8

Cook Islands

1

2

3

6

Norfolk Islands

 

1

3

4

Wallis & Futuna

 

1

2

3

Solomon Islands

 

 

5

5

Total

129

129

142

400




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