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Thursday, April 17, 2014

NMASA to start programs next year

A group of youth holds a practice run at the track facility of the Oleai Sports Complex, while two women go for a leisure walk last Tuesday afternoon. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association will have its programs in full swing next year after concentrating first on improving the Oleai Sports Complex during the past three months.

NMASA executive director Tony Rogolifoi said some of the programs that the association will spearhead are the revivals of the youth and inter-government basketball leagues. He added that the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangilinan Ballfield will also be opened for men’s and women’s fast-pitch league, while NMASA is also planning on hosting an invitational basketball tournament that will bring Tinian and Rota teams to Saipan.

As for the other sports, NMASA will be coordinating with other federations that are having their regular competitions at the complex. One of them is the Saipan Little League, which will open its 2014 season in January. For basketball and volleyball players who do not have tournaments to compete in, they can still use the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium as afternoon hoops is allowed daily for a minimal fee of $1 per play. Tuesday and Thursday evenings are for volleyball and the fee is also only $1.

Rogolifoi said his staff are working on the full slate of programs for 2014 and will release it to the public once finalize.

The executive director added more improvements at the complex are on the way. NMASA will be replacing the metal door at the Ada Gym with a solid aluminum door soon, while floor tiles and windows will also be replaced once funding is identified.

The association is also working on replacing bulbs at the track facility, gym, and the two ballfields. The grass at the infield of both ballfields will be removed and new ones will be planted.

“We are also working on seeking for funding through donations or federal grants to pay for proposed future projects such as building a concrete grandstand for both baseball and softball fields, repairing or replacing damages at the track and field surface, purchasing new sets of scoreboards for these facilities and installing air-conditioning units in the gym,” Rogolifoi said.

NMASA took over the management of the complex from the defunct Division of Sports and Recreation last October and is still waiting for the Senate approval of House Bill 18-111 to settle all legal issues on its claim to the facility. The bill, known as Northern Marianas Sports Act of 2013, was introduced by Rep. Tony Sablan (IR-Saipan) and approved by the House in October this year. It retained majority of the provisions in the public law that created NMASA such as the group’s exclusive jurisdiction (directly or through constituent members or committees) on the CNMI’s participation to regional and international competitions. The bill also specifies NMASA’s authority on levying of fees for usage of facilities, awarding of vending and advertising rights, and operation of a public lottery provisions that are crucial in NMASA’s aim to function on its own and raise funds to support its operations and programs.

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