"Over the past two weeks, we have seen the best of our young men and women in our country. You have competed in many sports, and showed us the great unifying power of the event that has taken place in our country," he said, referring to the South Pacific Games, the Rugby League World Cup and the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
O'Neill commended the work of Governor Sasindra Muthuvel and the Provincial Government of West New Britain in staging the games, which had now set a benchmark for Southern Highlands Province to follow in 2020.
He urged the athletes to keep in top form: "We also have the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, and the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, where a lot of our young people will go to represent our country.
"For those who have competed in the last two weeks, and those who will have the honour of representing our country in the future, I want you to know that you make us very proud."