Team Vanuatu Ready to take on the region's best challengers
On Sunday 26 November, the majority of athletes who will make up the 320-plus contingent to represent Vanuatu at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games, came together for a team meeting with managers and officials.
It was an inspiring afternoon of instruction, discussion and laughter around what it means to represent your country as Team Vanuatu athletes.
VASANOC CEO Henry Tavoa lead the proceedings, supported by colleagues Anolyn Lulu and Cyrille Mainguy on the dais and with the national flag hanging prominently at the front of the room.
The athletes had the Pacific Games Council Participants Declaration Agreement outlined to them, matters of logistics surrounding the Athletes Village, the meaning which underlines what it is to wear the Team Vanuatu shirt, sing the national anthem, fly the flag and perhaps most importantly, support one another in their quest for best performances and ultimately - medals.
The group was also addressed by Dr Jimmy Obed, as part of the medical team, who spoke to the athletes about the psychology of performance, confidence, mindset and trusting your training.
At one point, all athletes - who were sitting with their NF groups - were told to get up and move around the room introducing themselves to a fellow athlete they did not know and then to sit with these 'new' friends.
There was much smiling and laughter but the essential meesage was being understood - they are all in this together and they need to support eachother throughout the Games as members of the same 'family'.
One of the most moving moments of the afternoon was when all in the room stood to sing the national anthem - with hands on hearts it was a harmony of purpose and passion across the generations, from the debutants to the experienced Pacific Games campaigners.
As the sound of voices died down a final practice of the Team Vanuatu chant was called for - and it almost lifted the roof.
Bring on the Van2017 Pacific Mini Games because the members of Team Vanuatu are ready to perform at their best.