Thomas Bach was appropriately dressed as he met the four recipients of the Olympic Order ©IOC/Ian Jones

Four Olympic Orders were handed out during today's General Assembly of the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) in Suva, as the "vital role" that sport can play in society was reiterated once again.

The use of sport for wider development has been perhaps the number one theme during the tenure of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach so far, and, in his opening address today he reiterated once again how sport should be included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Sport can contribute in many ways with regard to health, education, cohesion, social development, peace-building and nation-building, both internationally and nationally,” the German proclaimed to representatives from all the Oceanic NOCs.

 “We are working from our side to have sport included in the political declaration introducing these SDGs, and I would ask each of you to ask your Governments to support this move,"

Thomas Bach addressed the Oceanic sporting community during the General Assembly today ©ONOC
Thomas Bach addressed the Oceanic sporting community during the General Assembly today ©ONOC

Olympic Orders were then presented to Roseline Blake, the first female secretary general of the Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee who has spent nearly 40 years involved in sport, and Lord Tevita Tupou,  a former ONOC Executive Board member who also sits on the Pacific Games Council and the Oceania Football Confederation Disciplinary Committee.

Also honoured was Joe Bomal Carlo, Vanuatu Chef de Mission at every Summer Olympics from Barcelona 1992 to London 2012, and Helen Brownlee, an International Board member of the International Canoe Federation who was also the first woman elected to the Executive Board of the Australian Olympic Committee.

She currently sits as the organisation's vice-president.

Thomas Bach meeting Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ©ONOC
Thomas Bach meeting Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama ©ONOC

Bach and his entourage, which also included ONOC President Robin Mitchell and IOC vice-president John Coates, then met with Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who provided reassurances that sport is a key part of the island nation's health and education policy.

Bach also met with representatives from every ONOC member, with items discussed including preparations for Rio 2016 and scholarships provided through Olympic Solidarity. 

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