The NOCSI Board member and National Selection and Justification Chair, Morris Maitaki, emphasized the importance of this new eligibility rule during a recent Sol2023 Talk-back show held at SIBC.
Maitaki highlighted that being a member of Team Solomon is a crucial requirement for participation in the Pacific Games, and to achieve this status, athletes must be valid citizens holding a passport. Even though Solomon Islands is the host nation for the Games, they are not exempt from this stringent requirement.
The urgency of the matter was evident in Maitaki's appeal to the federations to expedite the passport acquisition process for their athletes. With only two months left until the deadline, the NOCSI urged the Federation Team Managers to ensure that all athletes named on the final long list possess a valid passport. The cutting-date set for October adds even more pressure to the Federations to act swiftly.
NOCSI President Martin Rara further stressed the significance of timely athlete accreditation. He made it clear that the deadline for registration is fixed on the 5th of October, and any potential athletes without a valid passport will be disqualified from representing their country.
Rara urged all federations to promptly fill their long lists and submit them before the deadline, thus avoiding any last-minute mishaps.
The introduction of this new passport requirement has sparked debates among athletes, officials, and sports enthusiasts.
While some argue that it ensures the legitimacy of citizenship and strengthens national representation, others question the feasibility of obtaining passports within such a tight timeframe, particularly for athletes residing in remote areas.
Regardless of the debates, the NOCSI remains steadfast in its decision, claiming that a valid passport is the sole document that confirms an athlete's eligibility to represent their country in international competitions.
As the Games draw near, all eyes will be on the federations as they scramble to secure passports for their athletes and ensure their spot in Team Solomon.