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SUVA, Fiji Islands (December 10, 2001 - Sun/PINA Nius Online)---Samoa has won the bid to host the 2007 South Pacific Games.

In a South Pacific Games Council meeting yesterday, Samoa won the bid ahead of New Caledonia with a 25-16 vote.

The Samoan delegation present at the meeting yesterday erupted in cheers as the announcement was made.

"I personally think this is a gold medal for Samoa from the Norfolk Island games and I think this is what we actually came here for," Samoan delegate Lance Polu said.

Norfolk is currently hosting the Mini South Pacific Games, in which only a limited number of sports decided by the hosts are included. The main games include all the main sports, including compulsory ones such as athletics and swimming.

"I think it (the vote) reflects the idea that we're promoting that we should share the opportunity regardless of our economic mobility and our infrastructure," Samoan head delegate Leao Akeripa said.

New Caledonia has accepted the loss but said they have only lost a battle, not the war and have four years to plan their proposal to host the 2011 South Pacific Games.

Fiji is hosting the 2003 South Pacific Games.

For additional reports from the Fiji Sun, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Sun.

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