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With just 100 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on 26 July, and just a few more to the start of the Paralympic Games on 28 August, elite athletes from across the Pacific are entering the final stages of their preparation.

Some have already qualified for Olympic competition, and are focused on building to their mental and physical peak. Others are yet to secure their place, and must compete at qualifying events over the weeks and months ahead.

Announced in February, the #Pacific2Paris initiative is actively providing Pacific athletes with the help they need to achieve their best. Delivered by the Australian Olympic Committee through Australian High Commissions and National Olympic Committees in the region, the initiative is supporting more than 250 athletes from 13 Pacific countries to train and travel internationally.

“We’re excited again to work with the Australian Government to support our athletes through their final preparations on their journey to the Games,” says Oceania National Olympic Committee President Dr Robin Mitchell.

James Macleod, the International Olympic Committee’s Director of NOC Relations, Olympic Solidarity and Olympism365, adds: “This will assist these smaller nations with qualifying, competing and performing at the Paris Games, and is a true model for continental solidarity.”

As the clock ticks down to the Paris Games, the #Pacific2Paris program has gained momentum with launches taking place across the region in March and April. Here’s a round-up of events. 


The High Commission’s Second Secretary, Patrick Lawson, highlighted the power of sports to bring people together when he was joined by the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee on 1 March.

“Whether we are supporting pathways for elite athletes, or community level sports, we invest because we believe in its transformational power to bring people together and lift communities,” he said.

Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali, the nation’s boxing gold medallist from the 2023 Pacific Games, is already using PacificAus Sports funds to pay for a dietitian and strength and conditioning training. “I’m blessed,” he says. “PacificAus Sports has helped me a lot throughout my journey.”

AHC Patrick Lawson, Second Secretary and Consul, Don Opeloge and PacificAus Sports In-country Manager, Taupau Alex Mikaele / SASNOC at Launch


Palau’s team, including sprinters Sydney Francisco and Ignacio Blaluk, met with Australian Ambassador Richelle Turner on 26 February. 

With support from #Pacific2Paris, Sydney and Ignacio were able to attend the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March. Sydney then joined the Oceania Training Centre at the Gold Coast, Australia, and plans to attend the 2024 Oceania Athletics Area Championships in Fiji in June.

Earlier in the year, Paralympic hopefuls including Palau’s table tennis star Wakako Sisior, attended a high-performance camp in Brisbane as part of the Griffith University GAPS Program, designed to inspire and enable athletes to reach their sporting potential.

“This funding is vital to assist our Pacific Island Paralympians reach their goals and achieve their best in Paris,” explains Oceania Paralympic Committee President Paul Bird. “With this level of funding, we are hoping for the largest representation of Pacific Paralympic athletes and Nations at a Games – at least twice as many as Tokyo.”

Palau athletes / Paulau launch

Papua New Guinea

Australian High Commissioner John Feakes on 28 February announced funding to support 33 athletes from Papua New Guinea (PNG), including 15 sportswomen, competing across athletics, swimming, boxing, weightlifting, taekwondo, breakdancing and rugby 7s.

Fingers are crossed that PNG’s 49-kilo weightlifting golden girl Loa Dika Toua can secure one of six ‘wild card’ invitations from the International Olympic Committee. She is chasing a record-breaking sixth Olympiad at age 40, but narrowly missed qualifying at the IWF World Cup in Thailand over Easter.

Secretary General of the PNG Olympic Committee Desmond Kaviagu has welcomed Australia’s support, adding: “The support from the PacificAus Sports program is not just about funding; it’s about building a legacy of excellence, inclusion, and friendship among our Pacific communities.”

PNG athletes / PNG launch


Australia helped fund the participation of nine competitors from Tonga in the 2020 Tokyo Games–for the Paris Games, it’s supporting 24. Rachael Moore, the Australian High Commissioner, went to the headquarters of the Tonga Sports Association and National Olympic Committee on the 28 February to announce the #Pacific2Paris funding, to be shared across athletics, boxing, swimming, taekwondo, rugby 7s, weightlifting and sailing.

High Commissioner Rachael Moore and Tonga sports officials / Tonga launch


The nation’s Paralympic table tennis champion, Ioane Hawaii, put on an exhibition match when he joined Australia’s High Commissioner Brenton Garlick for the announcement. Tuvalu’s athletes and the National Olympic Committee are hopeful the program can expand even further for the Los Angeles Games in 2028 and Brisbane in 2032.

High Commissioner Rachael Moore and Netina Vea / Tuvalu launch


Australian High Commissioner Heidi Bootle hosted officials from the Vanuatu Olympic team and aspiring athletes when she launched #Pacific2Paris funding support on 28 February. The extra funds will assist Vanuatu’s athletes to prepare in the best possible way. Among those to benefit are beach volleyballers Majabelle Lawac and Sherysyn Toko. Majabelle says representing her country “means everything” and that she hopes to be a role model for young girls looking for pathways into elite sports.

Another proud Vanuatu sportswoman to receive support is Elie Enock, who has already qualified for the seated shotput event in the Paralympics and was the Pacific nation’s flagbearer for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. She hopes her story of success after a car accident will inspire other people living with a disability to pursue their goals in sport and work.

“You have to be positive all the time and aim for your goals,” she told ABC News. “I know that it is hard, but you have to trust in yourself.”

VASNOC / Vanuatu launch


On 28 February, the Australian High Commission in Kiribati joined with the Kiribati NOC and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Sport and Social Affairs to announce support for 10 young Kiribati athletes to train and compete for selection on the world stage. Watch out for Teretia Toauriri, the only female boxer in Kiribati, who is looking forward to representing her country in the ring. “I like boxing. I like to punch. I’m serious about that!” she says.

Kiribati athletes / Kiribati launch

Cook Islands

Australian High Commissioner Phoebe Smith joined the country’s top canoe sprinter Andre Tutaka-George and the team from Cook Island Sports and National Olympics Committee on 7 March, to announce funding for six Cook Island athletes.

Cook Islands atheletes / Cook Islands launch

Marshall Islands

On March 21, Australian Ambassador Paul Wilson hosted Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee Secretary General Amy Sasser and President Min. Anthony Muller at the Australian Embassy in recognition of Australia’s support for Marshall Islands athletes ahead of Paris.

MINOC Secretary General Amy Sasser, MINOC President Min. Anthony Muller and Australian Ambassador Paul Wilson. / Marshall Islands launch

Federated States of Micronesia

On 1 March, former Ambassador Jo Cowley met with Senator Aurelio Joab, President of the FSM National Olympic Committee, to announce financial support to aid local athletes’ preparations and participation in Olympic-qualifying events. 


#Pacific2Paris funding is also supporting elite athletes in Nauru and soon will be launched in Fiji and the Solomon Islands.

Ambassador Cowley with Senator the Hon. Aurelio Joab, President of the FSM National Olympic Committee (NOC) / Federated States of Micronesia launch
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