State pushes for more large-scale sporting events

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii hosts the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships next week. Officials said they are looking forward to bringing more major sporting events like this to the islands.

From marathons to water polo and golf, Hawaiian Senator Glenn Wakai said major sporting events are vital to our economy and well-being.

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“We’re always looking at economic opportunities and who’s coming in, who’s spending money,” Wakai said. “But I also think it’s important that Hawaiians have something to rally behind.”

That’s why Wakai said they are pushing to hold more events on the islands and he said he would like to branch out.

“We should really consider taking advantage of Hawaii’s strengths, one of which is water sports,” Wakai said.

On Wednesday, August 24, the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships kick off at the K. Mark Takai Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Oahu.

Nate Serota, spokesman for the Department of Parks and Recreation, said regular public swimming schedules will be suspended from Friday August 19-28 for the tournament.

“There are approximately 227 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 competing from countries in the Pan Pacific region. To my knowledge, around 1,000 support staff and families also come,” Serota said.

The four-day event will host athletes from 10 countries and is seen as a stepping stone to the Olympics.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to have this caliber of international competition here on Oahu and here in a city park,” Serota said.

The event is free to the public and will also be broadcast on television and on the web.

“I think the exhibit is key to showcasing Hawaii to the world,” Wakai said.

One of the biggest and most successful sporting events has been the Honolulu Marathon, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

“They generate about $109 million in economic spending during this week when visitors mainly from Japan, as well as locals, really inject a lot of money into our economy,” Wakai explained. “So I look at the Honolulu Marathon and see it as an example of how we should run sporting events.”

Hawaii Tourism Authority brand manager Kalani Ka’ana’ana said the Hawaii Tourism Authority has been supporting world championship events like Molokai Hoe and Na Wahine O Ke Kai for a long time. years.

“Canoeing is another big pillar of the Hawaii brand because it’s Hawaiian, it’s authentic. So surfing and canoeing are two mainstays of that,” Ka’ana’ana said. “We think of things like Duke’s Ocean Party, which will take place later this month, again, in honor of Duke Kahanamoku and surfing. We think of surfing as that iconic party of the Hawaiian brand and the Hawaiian Islands.

Molokai Hoe and Na Wahine O Ke Kai have been canceled since 2020 due to the pandemic. Ka’ana’ana said he hopes they resume soon.

He said many factors come into play when discussing which events to solicit and promote. One of them concerns facilities.

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According to Wakai, the state’s ability to host other major sporting events depends on the future of Aloha Stadium. He said they were already in talks with the United Soccer League and Major League Rugby as tenants of the future stadium.

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