By Jim Tobin
Sunday, July 05
Port Moresby, PNG
After years of preparation by Papua New Guinea and thousands of Pacific regional athletes, the 15th Pacific Games opening ceremony was held Saturday night, July 4, in the nation's capital, Port Moresby.
TEAM FSM, from the Federated States of Micronesia, was one of 23 Pacific island countries and territories that marched at the opening ceremony. The flag bearer for TEAM FSM was famous Olympic weightlifter Manuel Minginfel, from Yap. TEAM FSM is composed of 42 athletes, coaches and manager competing in Weightlifting, Boxing, Swimming, Track and Field, Tennis and Soccer (Football).
Artistic director of the opening ceremony, Airleke Ingram, said the opening ceremony was a celebration of Papua New Guinea's rich cultural history, while pointing to the country's future direction. The sing-sing performances were part of a cast of 3,000 performers and almost 300 ceremony staff.
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, Great Britain welcomed all 23 Pacific region island countries and territories. "I wish everyone 2 successful weeks of sport. Good luck to all the competitors. Congratulations Port Moresby," he said.
On Monday, July 6, Minginfel, the FSM best hope of winning a medal, will compete in the men’s 69kg Weightlifting category. Manuel's first appearance at a Pacific Games was at the Mini Games in Pago Pago in 1997. Since that time, he has competed in every single Pacific Games and Mini Games, winning a total of 19 gold medals and 5 silver medals.
2015 Pacific Games events began on Friday, July 03 and will continue until July 18.