With next year’s Micronesian Games expected to attract top-flight athletes, including the best tennis players in the region, an expansion and upgrade to international standards is being eyed for the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Juan L. Babauta, who is chairman of the 2006 Micronesian Games executive committee, said he is currently in the middle of talks with Park Ranger Chuck Sayon regarding money needed for the tennis courts expansion project.
Babauta said Sayon has an expansion plan for the tennis courts set since last year, however, about $50,000 more is needed to fund the project.
“They need $50,000 more for the tennis courts and we agreed that we would take our money and put it together with what Chuck has and focus on the expansion,” Babauta told the committee.
Babauta said he has talked with veteran tennis player and CNMI tennis national team coach Jeff Race about the project, and was told that the courts at the AMP do not meet international standards.
“So we have to take care of that,” Babauta said. “That is one of our responsibilities as a host.”
Babauta also said that if the time frame would still allow the construction of an Olympic-size swimming pool, it will be situated at the AMP as well.
“It takes about seven months to construct the pool, and even if it does not make it in time for the Games, at least we’ve started on it and it would be completed for future use,” he said.
The pool project is estimated to cost $1.7 million.
Meanwhile, vice chair Michael White also explained that the CNMI could request assistance for accreditation—identification cards—for each participant of the Games from Sporting Pulse, a company based in Australia.
According to White, Sporting Pulse assisted Palau during this past summer’s South Pacific Mini Games, and was satisfied with their work.
“All I did when we went there was pick up the ID tags which is wonderful,” he said. “The last thing you want to do when you get there is to wait for it, and they did a good job.”
Another issue discussed during the meeting was the selection of an official mascot, as well as a logo for the Games.
The task will be handled by the publicity and media committee.
Babauta said the committee might launch a logo contest in the near future to get the community involved, however, he indicated that he could not confirm anything as the responsibility lies with the publicity and media committee headed by KMCV sports director Bob Coldeen.