Tahiti athletes to compete under neutral banner

A TAHITI team will not take part in the Pacific Mini Games, with the territory’s athletes to compete under a neutral banner, following the French Polynesian government’s decision to boycott the event.

The government withdrew their support following a disagreement over who should represent Tahiti in boxing and rugby sevens in Vanuatu.

The Pacific Games Council’s Chief Executive, Andrew Minogue, said a four-member boxing team have confirmed their attendance while the rugby sevens side was also down to compete.

He said all other sports have chosen not to participate in Port Vila because of the government boycott.

“The position of the PGC is we do wish to respect the protocols around national representation so if the Tahiti government is not endorsing the team and has no National Olympic Committee – or what we call Pacific Games Association – in place, then the athletes will compete under our banner, so we’re not causing any embarrassment back home,” Mr Minogue said.

He said the Tahitian athletes would enter under the Pacific Games Council flag during Monday’s opening ceremony and if they win any medals it would be a PGC flag that is raised.