The Pacific Games, previously known as the South Pacific Games, is a sporting event that is similar to the Olympic Games except that the participants are countries around the South Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Games began in 1963 and is held every four years. The body governing the games is the Pacific Games Council and the membership comprises of 22 countries. All the Pacific Community members are also members of the Pacific Council except the Pitcairn Island. The idea of Pacific Games was brought forward by Dr. AH Sahu Khan who was representing Fiji at the South Pacific Commission. The idea, which was adopted in 1961, gave Fiji the honor of hosting the first Games in 1963. Since then, the Pacific Games has grown to include 24 nations and 37 sports. In 2019, the sixteenth edition of the Pacific Games will take place in Apia, Samoa.
Top Performing Countries
New Caledonia’s domination of the Pacific Games dates back to the inception of the Games. Team New Caledonia has participated in 15 Pacific Games and accumulated a total of 2,087 medals. The country has the highest number of each medal including 835 gold, 672 silver, and 580 bronze. Of the 15 Games, New Caledonia has failed to top the medal standing only three times including 2015 when it finished second after host Papua New Guinea, just as when New Papua Guinea hosted the Games in 1991.
Although Tahiti has tried to close the gap on New Caledonia, it still have a long way to go. The country has managed a total of 1,327 medals in 15 appearances at the games. Of the medals won, 482 are gold, 411 silver, and 434 are bronze medals. Despite performing impressively at the Pacific Games, Tahiti has never topped the medal standing. In 2015, the country managed 114 medals of which 39 were gold, ranking third after host Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.
Papua New Guinea
The immediate former host country, Papua New Guinea, has been impressive at the Pacific Games since its inception in 1963. It is one of the two countries that have managed to oust New Caledonia in some of the Game’s editions, the other country being Fiji. Papua New Guinea has accumulated 1,227 medals over 15 Games, 100 fewer than Tahiti. Of the total medals, 432 are gold, 394 silver, and 401 bronze. In 2015 when it hosted the Games, Papua New Guinea topped the medal standings with a total of 217 medals, of which 88 were gold.
Fiji was the first country to host the first South Pacific Games. Since then, it has hosted two more games, 1979 and 2003, and participated in all the 15 Games. Fiji has won a total of 1,289 medals, 62 medals more than Papua New Guinea. However, with 387 gold medals, it ranks below Papua New Guinea. Fiji has often found it hard to beat the top three countries for the gold medal. It has the second highest number of silver and bronze medals after New Caledonia.
Criteria for Ranking of Countries
Although the total number of medals would be ideal for ranking the countries, that is not so in most of the Games including Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and Pacific Games. The countries are often ranked by the number of gold won. For instance, Fiji has more medals than Papua New Guinea but it ranks below it because it has fewer gold medals. If there is a tie between two or more countries, the country with the highest number of silver will be considered first.