By SHAN SEMAN
Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael White has yet to receive any information from the Micronesian Games Council about awarding the Micronesian Games to another country or to scrapping the quadrennial event altogether.
White said he has not heard any new information directly from MGC president Bill Keldermans and would not commit to any course of action until he has discussed the situation with the NMASA board.
In his heart, though, White said the CNMI should try to keep the Games.
“However, my own personal view is that we should try as hard as we can to keep the Games here in the CNMI,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Luis Crisostimo, who earlier expressed his disappointment on the government backing down from hosting the Games, introduced a resolution urging the Fitial administration to reconsider and bring the Games to the CNMI. (See story on Page 7)
Among the benefits from hosting the Games, the lawmaker mentioned, was the over 2,000 visitors expected to travel to the CNMI and the estimated $2 million that would be spent on hotels, restaurants, and car rentals, as well as other small businesses in the community.
Crisostimo also explained that the Games being hosted in the CNMI will boost the morale of the local athletes and added that improvements to sports facilities for the Games will also serve as an important factor in attracting other countries to use the facilities for training for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
As reported earlier, the government pulled back from hosting the Games citing its economic situation and poor planning.
The decision, which was announced on Friday during a press conference at the Governor’s Office, shocked athletes and officials in the local sports scene.
Palau and Guam were named as possible hosts for the Games. However, no confirmation has been made yet.
Palau National Olympic Committee secretary general Baklai Temengil told the Saipan Tribune that the PNOC has discussed the possibility of hosting the Games but has yet to make a commitment.
She said the facilities in Palau are in good shape for hosting the Games, but said support would be needed from the government, community, and businesses.
The 2006 Games was originally set for Yap. However, damage to sports facilities resulted in the MGC deciding to grant the Games to another country.
During last summer’s Mini Games, the CNMI made a jump at hosting the Games, a request that was granted by the MGC.
About 1,500 to 1,700 athletes, coaches, and officials were expected to take part in the Games.