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Thursday, April 24, 2014

CNMI to offer 12 sports in Mini Games 2021

Badminton is one of the sports the CNMI is proposing to hold for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.  (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO) The 2012 Pacific Mini Games is heading to the CNMI and the host is offering 12 sports for the quadrennial competition.

In the bid documents the Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association submitted on behalf of the CNMI to the Pacific Games Council early this month, it proposed to have tournaments in athletics, badminton, golf, tennis, canoe racing, volleyball (indoor and beach), baseball, sailing, swimming, triathlon, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Basketball, which has been a regular fixture in the Games, was excluded on the list, as the sport will have its separate regional/zone competition.

“FIBA Oceania will hold its own stand-alone tournament in 2021, in which Australia and New Zealand (they cannot participate in the Pacific Games or Mini Games) will participate. Also, large team sports involve a large number of participants. We’re already offering baseball and volleyball, and we’re not sure that we have the capacity (living accommodations) to host basketball as well,” NMASA president Michael White said.

The CNMI bid document was turned over last Jan. 4 and council executive director Andrew Minogue said it was the only bid that made the deadline. Minoque added in a letter to NMASA that the council will contact the CNMI for the host city contract and an evaluation visit to Saipan. The CNMI’s hosting of the 2021 Pacific Mini Games is expected to be announced officially during the council meeting in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea. It will be the first time that the Commonwealth will be hosting the Games after losing to Vanuatu in a close fight for the 2017 edition of the event and the CNMI is proposing to have the event in the last two weeks of June.

In the bid documents, NMASA said visiting athletes will be housed at the Marianas High School and Hopwood Junior High School, while officials and VIPs will be accommodated at the Kanoa Resort.

As for the venues, the Oleai Sports Complex will be the main headquarters and its facilities will undergo repairs and improvement in time for the Games. NMASA said the seating capacity of the stadium at the track and field facility will be expanded from 1,000 to 2,500, while the two ballfields will also undergo facelifts.

The Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium is the proposed venue for indoor volleyball and NMASA is expecting the gym will be air-conditioned in time for the Games. Wrestling, weightlifting, and badminton are proposed to be staged at the TSL Sports Complex, while NMASA is hoping to secure a federal grant to build a new Olympic-standard swimming pool at the Oleai complex. The Kan Pacific Swimming Pool and the 25-meter pool being built at Saipan Southern High School are the other venues considered for swimming competitions.

Excluding the expenses for improvements of the facilities, NMASA has pegged the cost of the Games at $1,160,000 and has identified the sources of this. Of the more than $1-million budget for the Games, $650,000 will come from participation fees from the 22-member council, $250,000 may come from the government’s coffers, and the remaining $260,000 are from the private sector and sponsorships.

NMASA will not be charging per diem to delegates and instead is proposing a participation fee of $450 per delegate for the two-week competition.

NMASA also stated in the bid documents that it will be working closely with the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office to secure a temporary waiver of the visa requirement for athletes and officials participating in the Games.

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