Vital support from the P&O Pacific
Partnership has ensured that Vanuatu's women's volleyball stars, senior player
Miller Pata and Linline Matauatu have the chance to make their Island nation
proud by taking home a Commonwealth Games medal.
The Partnership, funded by voluntary contributions
from P&O guests, stepped in to support the team's accommodation as they
need to stay outside the Games Village in Coolangatta because athletes being
accompanied by children are unable to stay in the village. Miller is a mum with
a six month old baby.
Already ranked among the top four Commonwealth
Games volleyball nations with Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the Vanuatu
team is being supported with the cost of accommodation outside the village as a
base to launch their Commonwealth Games campaign.
"Vanuatu is a small nation that is still
developing and its sporting heroes are usually people from other countries,"
said Stuart Gist of Vanuatu Beach Volleyball.
"Miller and her competition partner Linline
have a real opportunity to win the first medal at the Commonwealth Games for
"It's actually the first real opportunity to
make the finals of any Commonwealth Games sport.
"Currently, Australia, Canada, Vanuatu and New
Zealand are the four top ranked teams in the Commonwealth and on any given day
each team could beat the other.
"The P&O Pacific Partnership's support
means a lot to us and has been pivotal in enabling Miller and Linline to
represent Vanuatu in this international competition where they have a real
chance of a medal.
"We feel that we are on the verge of creating
our own small piece of history and there is no better company to do that with
than P&O because you have seen our country grow and develop including
hospitality staff from Vanuatu working on your ships.
"P&O was also there for Vanuatu after the
devastation of Cyclone Pam in 2015 and you are continuing to support us in this
emerging opportunity in international sport."
Sture Myrmell, President of Carnival Australia
and P&O Cruises Australia, said supporting the Vanuatu team was an easy
decision given the close bonds between P&O and Vanuatu.
"P&O Cruises has been cruising to the
South Pacific for more than 85 years and our guests share our love and respect
for the people of Vanuatu," Mr Myrmell said.
"We are delighted that through the P&O
Pacific Partnership our guests have an opportunity to stand shoulder to
shoulder with Miller and Linline in their quest for Commonwealth Games
"Our Australian and New Zealand guests now
have the added bonus of each having two national teams to barrack for in the
women's beach volleyball competition."
The P&O Pacific Partnership is funded by a
one dollar voluntary contribution applied to P&O cruise bookings and is
used to fund a variety of community programs in the South Pacific.
Working with Save the Children Australia, the
Partnership has previously funded the construction of kindergartens and health
aid posts in Vanuatu. The Partnership was also prominent in P&O's
humanitarian aid response to the Cyclone Pam disaster.
In thanking the P&O Pacific Partnership,
Stuart Gist said the whole of Vanuatu would be following Miller and Linline in
the Commonwealth Games competition.
"Our hopes for them to be given the
opportunity to perform at the highest level for their country has been realised
thanks to the Partnership," Mr Gist said.
"Win or lose, they will be able to look their
children in the face knowing that they did their best having had the
opportunity to represent Vanuatu and to make us all proud."
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