One of the people behind the revival of the Micronesian Games and a longtime local sports organizer has said unless everyone is on the same page and cooperate with Saipan’s hosting of the 2006 Micronesian Games during this late hour, then nothing but failure could be expected to come out of it.
Former Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Bill Sakovich said he laments the government’s initial pullout in hosting the Games and the predicament it has brought to the Micronesian Games Organizing Council as well as to Palau and Guam—two nations that are being groomed to take the Games in a moment’s notice.
“It’s too bad but I am not surprised. We started two years in advance for the ’90 Games, and I really don’t think it [2006 Micro Games] can be pulled off in short notice unless everyone—and I really emphasize this, everyone—cooperates,” he said.
The Saipan Swim Club co-founder said at this point in time, which is about four months before the opening of the Games, organizers should only be preoccupied with fine-tuning and putting the finishing touches in the hosting of the quadrennial event.
Sakovich said one solution that could possibly work is postponing the Games for six months, which would set it for the end of the year in December.
However, if the June opening stands, he reiterated that NMASA and the government should not waste anymore time and prepare as soon as possible for the Games coming back to Saipan. He also said money would be important if the government ultimately decides to take back hosting of the event.
“It cannot be done without financial support, and as I said, the accommodations, toilets and showers are critical, as well as the awards,” he said. “If these are all in place, maybe, but what about game schedules, sports [to be held]?”
On the bright side, Sakovich intimated that the government may not have to shelve that much money in the first place, considering that the CNMI already has the facilities to accommodate the sports that will talk place come June and July.
“Maybe you can get by with current facilities, no major renovations, just cleaning up, and now, maybe you will get more volunteers. And if the government reconsiders its initial decision to cancel Saipan’s hosting of the Games and as I said people work hard together, we may still pull it off, but it will be tough,” he said.
Although, he is never in the habit of pointing fingers on anyone, Sakovich made a rare exemption this time and called out the CNMI government and the local sports body for not getting their acts together the past several months.
“I blame the current government for dragging its feet until January to select a committee, and several were worthless, which I knew and said. NMASA should also take part of the blame for not just taking it and going with it from August,” he said.
Sakovich also said all the hard work in preparing for the Games in four months is a lot better when you think of the alternative, which is either not hosting it or the cancellation of the Games altogether.
“If it does stay as is—meaning no Games on Saipan this summer—that will really hurt the sports and sports programs of the Commonwealth. We have been saying we should be an NOC (National Olympic Council), and then this happens, but this is our government, one government says, ‘Yeah, go ahead,’ next says ‘We cannot,’ and financially I agree, but the fact is a commitment was made, and should be honored,” he said.