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South Pacific Games - 100 days to go! - May 18, 2007

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On August 25, Apia will host the XIIIth South Pacific Games during two weeks. The Games comittee and FIBA Oceania will host basketball tournaments for Men and Women teams. Today we take a look at the basketball venue for the games and at the past champions. All the South Pacific countries and regions can participate in the 2007 Games except Australia and New Zealand. We don't know which countries will field basketball teams in Samoa but each tournament would feature 8 to 12 teams.

Past Champions - Men:
2005- New Caledonia (SP mini-Games)
2003- New Caledonia (SP Games)
2001- New Caledonia (Oceania Tnt)
1999- Samoa (SP Games)
1997- American Samoa (SP mini-Games)
1995- Tahiti (SP Games)
New Caledonia has won three consecutives Gold medals in the last continental competitions and the team will be the biggest favourite for another title even if they will come to Samoa without their two best players: Manu Soeria and Rodrigue Teitananuarii. The other strong contenders would the host nation Samoa, Fiji and Guam. Samoa will play in front of 1700 chanting fans and hopefully the team would be improved by a couple of overseas players. Fijin who was disapointing in the last tournament's medal round will be looking for redemption while Guam will play for the Gold, despite a very small team, after three Silver medals in 1999, 2003 and 2005!

Past Champions - Women:
2005- Fiji (SP mini-Games)
2003- Samoa (SP Games)
2001- Tahiti (Oceania Tnt)
1999- Tahiti (SP Games)
1997- Tahiti (SP mini-Games)
1995- Tahiti (SP Games)
Since the tahitian domination in the late 90's, Fiji had become the best nation in the South Pacific area. The fijians are the defending champions and they should come to Samoa will a great squad included the american-based players. Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea will be the other major contenders for the Gold. Samoa could take the biggest prize if the team could bring the dozen of american-based players to the tournament. New Caledonia has shown a lot of improvement in the past featuring the most exciting prospect in the region: Soana Lucet. With her, the caledonian will play for the Gold; without her, they might be unable to reach the semifinals. Tahiti has a great new generation of players led by Alizee Lefranc and could win another Gold medal. Papua New Guinea was considered as the sleeping giant of the region but the giant seems to be awake now, the papuans won the Silver medal in 2005 and was the third Pacific nation in the 2006 FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament.

Venue Profile
The Gymnasium 2 is located at the Faleata Sports Complex is located next to Gym1 and is adjacent to the hockey fields. Gym 2 is an international standard multilevel facility opened in December 2006. Costing an estimated ST$8.3m to build, the facility has a 1400 seating capacity, two basketball courts. Included in its layout are media facilities, a commentary box, plus a digitized score board.

The basketball courts at the Faleata Sports Complex (photo: SPG2007 comittee)  

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