2023 Micronesian Games again delayed

Posted on Mar 20 2023

The RMI National Sports Complex under construction in Majuro, Marshall Islands. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Due to the unreadiness of the host islands’ sports facilities, the  10th Micronesian Games in Majuro, Marshall Island has been delayed anew.

In a letter to member island nations of the Micronesian Games Council, secretary general Joey C. Miranda III regretfully informed that after recommendations from the Marshall Islands government and other stakeholders involved, they have come to the conclusion that the quadrennial event can’t be delivered in the July 2023 date that was promised. 

“The president and his Cabinet have stated at this time with recommendations from the Ministry of Education and Sport and based heavily on the challenges to construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two and a half years and recommendations from Public Works assessment of facility readiness for the July dates, that there will be a delay of the Games. We will be seeking to reschedule the Games here in Majuro to a later date,” he said.

Miranda added that the postponement of the 2023 Micronesian Games is the best move at this point.

“The safety of our athletes and attendees are major considerations in processing the viability of the continuance of the Games. For us to mitigate the formalities and avoid costs that all MGAs (Micronesian Games Associations) will be burdened upon in preparation for the Games, it is with regret that we announce the delay of the Micronesian Games scheduled for July 2023.”

He said the Micornsian Games Executive Council will host a virtual meeting in the coming months to provide detailed information to members and work on the next steps the Micronesian Games Council will need to take for future events. 

This is the fourth time the Majuro Micro Games has been postponed. It was originally set for July 2022 then first rest to November 2022 before being slated to July 2023. 

The Micronesian Games Council didn’t set a new date for the 10th Micronesian Games. It will be the first time the Marshall Islands will ever host the quadrennial event, which started in 1969 as the Micronesian Olympics on Saipan. 

The CNMI is expected to send athletes in athletics, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, weightlifting, tennis, swimming, and va’a (outrigger canoe) in the Games.
heads of sports federations were understandably sad with the now seeming uncertainty of the Micro Games.
Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association president Jeff Race said with no new date for the Micronesian Games, he doesn’t have any idea who among the CNMI’s top players will be available.

“My biggest concern, like that of the Pacific Games in November, is being able to field a team at certain times when players are not available. At least half of our players, and many of our best ones, are college students who can’t just take two weeks off of school to come for the Games. The July timeframe was a good one as many of our athletes not only are off of school, but come home for the summer holiday and so are already on island.”

Saipan Swim Club coach Richard Sikkel, meanwhile, understands the reason for the delay.

“It is unfortunate that it has been delayed, but if the Marshalls are not ready, they aren’t ready. I appreciate that they took this difficult decision with athlete comfort and safety in mind. Hopefully the Micronesian Games Council will be able to set a new date at a later date.”

The Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation board member also said if the council does pick a date for the Games, they will be ready. 

“As for swimming, our national swimmers practice year round and they will be ready to compete whenever the new dates are announced,” he said.

Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center coach Hiroyuki Kimura agrees with Sikkel. 

“Delaying is no problem for my swimmers. We are ready for any competition anytime,” said the many-time CNMI national swimming coach. 

While he also understands the rationale behind the postponement, Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation president James Lee said it will make sending athletes to the Games even more challenging. 

“It’s unfortunate and understandable, but now it adds an additional challenge for us on top of looking for funding to go to the Games, our off-island athletes that are planning to return back to represent and logistic-wise since there are no new set dates of the event.”

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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