September 22, 2022

It’s Game On!

2022 Oceania Athletes' Forum

ONOC Secretary-General Ricardo Blas challenged athletes of Oceania to a GAME ON approach at the forum and to return home with. | Photo: ONOC

Athletes meeting at the 5th Oceania Athletes’ Forum for the first time in three years have received the challenge to take stock of their challenges, strategise, and return with action plans to lead their national level Athletes’ Commissions back being active.

The Game On Challenge! - The Pacific Legacy to be remembered by athletes

In a rousing challenge, Secretary-General of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) Ricardo Blas put on his hat as an athlete, a former judoka who represented Guam at international platforms, told athletes to ‘Equate this forum to the starting block’ and ‘think of this meeting as the racetrack, the open field, the sandpit, the mat, or weights’ they as athletes faced in competition.

Converting the Forum into a field of play and competition, Secretary-General Blas reminded athletes ‘the last few years challenged the world and the Pacific as a people and Ocean – and that the pursuit of sport must be with a full understanding of the context islanders live in, which is at the frontlines of many issues such as climate change, environment, and globalisation.’

Secretary-General Blas challenged athletes to consider the ancestral legacy that all Oceania athletes connect to – that they stand on the shoulders of great people, including sportspeople who built sport with little none of the facilities, infrastructure, coaching support, funding, sport science and competition available to current athletes.  

Chair of the ONOC Athletes' Commission, Karo Lelai of Papua New Guinea will be farewelled at this Forum as new leadership is elected. Lelai has led athletes of Oceania and in her role as ANOC AC Chair, athletes of all 206 NOCs of the Olympic Movement - stellar service and exemplar to the Pacific. | Photo: ONOC

What TOKYO 2020 means and building beyond

Blas said, ‘Two years ago TOKYO 2020 was delayed by a year because of the global COVID-19 pandemic but one year later Oceania joined the world in Tokyo to give one of its best performances yet.

‘The International Olympic Committee (IOC), through the leadership of President Thomas Bach, ensured all the internal structures in the Olympic Movement and its external partnerships enabled the Games happened and we were able to participate in a safe Games that became a symbol of hope for the world in the middle of a pandemic.

‘The support to the Pacific islands was more pronounced as it took an airline charter to ensure all island athletes made it to the Games and back and most of us gave our best performances yet.’

Athletes of Oceania at the 5th edition of the Oceania Athletes' Forum that opened in Pacific Harbour, Fiji. | Photo: ONOC


Blas also acknowledged the support of ONOC President Robin Mitchell and Executives, President Thomas Bach and the IOC, the Olympic Solidarity Programme, and in particular, outgoing Chair of the ONOC Athletes’ Forum, Karo Lelai of Papua New Guinea who led athletes of Oceania and ANOC through a global pandemic.

Programme ahead

The 5th Oceania Athletes’ Forum began today and will conclude on Saturday 24 September 2022. Today also featured the beginning of Communications and Media Training for Athletes and Oceania NOC Athletes’ Commissions. Tomorrow features the ONOC Athletes’ Commission elections where athletes will get to exercise their independence in voting their choice of representatives to lead them in the current quadrennium.


For more information, please visit the following links:  

For the Oceania National Olympic Committees  
For the ONOC Athletes’ Commission  
For the ONOC Athletes’ Commission Microsite  
For the IOC Athletes’ Commission  
For the Athlete365 hub of resources for all athletes



For Event Enquiries

Karo Lelai

Chair, ONOC Athletes' Commission

For Media Enquiries

Inoke Bainimarama

ONOC Executive Director (Acting) and Chief Communications Officer

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