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Dame Valerie Adams has called for the 2019 Pacific Games to remain in Tonga

In a letter sent to the Pacific Games Council earlier this month, the Olympic gold medallist said when the games were allocated to the Kingdom it was a "major step forward in the development of sport and Tonga's communities and its people".

She said Tongan athletes and officials "had the opportunity to provide and be provided a new level of skills, infrastructure, programmes and vision for sport in the country".

The Tongan government announced two weeks ago it was withdrawing its support for Tonga hosting the 2019 Games.

But the Pacific Games Council has given the country until the end of June to address its financial concerns over hosting the event.

Dame Valerie said the Pacific Games would also create a legacy for all of Tonga to benefit, provide for healthy lifestyles and benefit the local communities and economic wellbeing of Tonga as a nation.

"I feel for Tonga and its officials in having to make these decisions but I do urge you to reconsider as the long term benefit for our people will in the end outweigh those barriers immediately prevalent in stopping the hosting of the games in Tonga," said Dame Valerie.

"I personally was excited to be getting involved in the Pacific Games in Tonga and embracing the community in their journey.

"As a proud Tongan I felt excited that we had the wonderful opportunity to bring Tongan sport to a new level, provide a wonderful opportunity for our current and developing athletes and create a unique spectacle for all of the Pacific.

Dame Valerie urged the country to "problem solve the issues to get things on track" and said she hoped Tonga can reconsider things and commit to hosting the Pacific Games as a nation in 2019.

 Photo: Photosport Dame Valerie Adams
Source: Radio New Zealand
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