New Caledonia is the most successful country at the Pacific Games, having won 12 of the last 14 Games, including the 2011 Games in Noumea.
Dabin flew into the national capital with his management team yesterday and said even with the inclusion of athletes and teams from Australia and New Zealand, their goal would not be affected and he looked forward to the challenge that lay in store for his team.
The last time the Games were hosted in the country, the New Caledonians finished second to the hosts and the competition would be intense but he welcomed it.
“We know it will be very tough taking on PNG on their home soil but we want to repeat our 2011 experience,” Dabin said.
“We believe they have been preparing well for the Games but so have we.”
The New Caledonia contingent has 329 athletes that will take in 22 sports.
Dabin said the contingent would arrive on Thursday and Friday while the remaining 150 athletes arrive on July 11.
With days to go before Saturday’s opening ceremony, teams have already started taking up residence at the Games Village with members of the Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Samoa and Tahiti arriving over the weekend while representatives from Guam, Australia and New Zealand flew in yesterday.
The Australian management team and the New Zealand Under-23 soccer team led by coach Anthony Hudson arrived yesterday.
Australian chef de mission and former 2008 and 2012 sailing Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page said his side was excited to be competing at a Pacific Games for the first time.
“We’re proud to be part of the Pacific Games because Australia is a part of the Pacific region,” Page said.
Page compared the Games to a mini-Olympics where the best Pacific Island athletes would be competing to showcase their talents.
“We are proud to take part and learn from the other Pacific Islanders and we know they will learn from us,” he said.
“We’re here to compete and hopefully win some medals.”
Australia has 43 athletes at the Games competing in taekwondo, weightlifting, rugby sevens and sailing.
The New Zealand U23 team arrived with coach Anthony Hudson, who had left New Zealand critical of the venues and scheduling of matches, preferring to dwell on the task at hand once in Port Moresby.
“We’re not here for anything but to win and qualify for the Olympic Games next year,” Hudson said. He refused to be drawn in to comment on his comments regarding the state of the pitches in Port Moresby saying instead that the side was now in Port Moresby and wanted to get on with the job.
“This will be our first time to take part in a Pacific Games and we’re here to play. We’re expecting competition from countries like Solomon Islands and Fiji.
“We haven’t seen the facilities yet but we’re here already so the focus is to complete our games.”
Samoan Maria Salamasina, who is a FIFA and OFC-accredited assistant referee was another official who arrived yesterday.
She said she was her early to prepare and officiate when the soccer competition started on Friday.
In yesterday’s arrivals the PNG tennis team also arrived back into the country after taking part at a Queensland tennis tournament.
There were also nine members of the PNG weightlifting team that arrived back into the country after undergoing their one-month training stint at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia.
The PNG volleyball men’s team returned after having some lead-up matches in Brisbane.