The CNMI is sending a team to the athletics competition in the 2014 Micronesian Games in Pohnpei in July with sprint queen Yvonne Bennett leading the squad.
Northern Marianas Athletics head coach Elias Rangamar in an email to Saipan Tribune yesterday confirmed the group’s participation in the quadrennial event scheduled from July 20 to 29. Trials are ongoing, but Yvonne, her twin sister Yvette, and three other off-island athletes have committed to the squad.
“We will have several of our top off-island athletes returning to represent CNMI in Pohnpei. Notable names include, reigning sprint queen Yvonne Bennett, her sister Yvette and multi-event athletes Jacque Wonenberg and Lia Rangamar. There is also the Guam-based Michael Mancao, who is our record holder in the 800m,”Rangamar said.
Yvonne topped the 100m, 200m, and 400m events in the 2012 Micronesian Games in Palau and set record times in the 100m and 200m, earning her the fastest women’s tag in the region. She also anchored the team to victory in the 4x100m relay race.
“We are looking to have 20 to 25 athletes on the team. Brandon Phillip will be the new anchor of our men’s sprint team with the departure of CNMI and Micronesian record holder Tyrone Omar,” the NMA head coach added. “I will submit all 25 names because we still have up to the technical meeting to finalize our roster.”
As for their medal target, Rangamar is hoping that the team will equal if not surpass its performance in Palau four years ago. The CNMI won 13 golds, five silvers, and seven bronzes in the athletics competition of the 2010 edition of the Micro Games.
Meanwhile, NMA has launched an online fundraiser for the team’s campaign in this year’s Micro Games.
Interested donors can check the gofundme.com website and type key words Athletics competition in Pohnpei.
NMA is hoping to raise $35,000 to help defray the cost of the team’s trip to Pohnpei. Each delegate needs about $800 for the airfare alone (United Airlines is charging $678 per person plus taxes, which are subject to change), while per diem is $50. No financial assistance from either the government or Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association has been made at press time and the organizing committee in Pohnpei has set the deadline for submission of entries by names on May 19. NMASA has scheduled an earlier deadline—May 7.