The CNMI grabbed three gold medals in the opening day of the athletics competition of the 8th Micronesian Games in Pohnpei.
Rachel Abrams delivered two golds for the CNMI yesterday, while Lia Rangamar contributed one.
Abrams earned her first gold medal with a record-run in the 200m race. She clocked in at 26.29 seconds to beat five other finalists and eclipse the CNMI and Micronesian Games marks (26.41 seconds) fellow Commonwealth sprinter Yvonne Bennett logged during the 2010 Micro Games in Palau.
The 19-year-old Abrams defeated Nauru’s Fritz Lanja (26.75 seconds), Marshall Islands’ Marian Cress (26.99), Kosrae’s Lihen Jonas (27.67 seconds), fellow CNMI athlete Zarinae Sapong (28.55), and Palau’s Ruby Joy Gabriel (28.57 seconds).
Abrams also posted the fastest qualifying time in the 200m run with her 26.55 seconds on Heat 1. Sapong topped her heat (2), too with her 28.50 seconds to join Abrams in the finals. Friendly Joy Pena was the third CNMI sprinter entered in the 200m run and finished 12th out of 21 in the qualifying heat after submitting 28.97 seconds.
In the women’s 100m hurdles, Abrams registered 17.50 seconds to finish ahead of three other finalists. She defeated Pohnpei’s Ashley Apiner (17.84 seconds) and Aleina Thomsin (20.79) and Palau’s Eliana Koshiba-Panuelo (23.33 seconds).
Several minutes after Abrams gave the CNMI its second gold, Rangamar hauled the third one as she ruled the javelin throw. Rangamar, who holds the Commonwealth’s national mark in the event (35.31m/2012 Oceania Area Championships), posted 34.63m to win the gold medal. She prevailed over four Pohnpei bets—Apiner (32.13m), Tracy Ardos (29.06m), Deborah Steven (27.74m), and Sandonia Likor (24.62m).
Meanwhile, the CNMI qualified in both the men’s and women’s 400m runs. Sapong tallied 1:10.06 in the qualifying heat to finish fifth and earned one of the six finals berth in the race. Pohnpei’s Anitra Logirio had the best qualifying time at 1:06.31, while the CNMI’s Pena fell just one notch short of advancing into the finals, as she placed seventh in the qualifier with a time of 1:11.43.
In the men’s 400, Beo Ngirchongor was ranked fifth after the qualifier, logging 53.61 seconds. Chuuk’s Smith Tarrell ruled the qualifier with his 52.32 seconds, while the CNMI’s Michael Mancao missed the six-man cut after recording 58.23 seconds.
Ngirchongor also competed in the qualifying heat of the 200m run, but failed to make the grade, placing 10th (out of 23 runners) with his 10th-best 23.58 seconds. Two other CNMI runners faltered in their respective qualifying heats with Brandon Philip recording 23.88 seconds and Tony Ichiou submitting 25.37 seconds.
In other results, Pena missed the medal podium in the women’s long jump by just two notches, while the CNMI’s bets in the 10,000m run and men’s discus throw also fell short on their bid. Pena finished fifth in the long jump after registering 4.05m. Pohnpei’s Mihter Wendolin won the gold (4.62m). In the 10,000m run, Jessie James placed sixth with a time of 45:17, while in the discus. Sylvan Rangamar was the best finisher for the CNMI with the field’s seventh-best (29.47m). Ronald Olopai had a 28.56m heave, while Daniel Joab recorded 23.43m.
Pohnpei’s Magdano Marquez (39:33) and Reloliza Saiman triumphed in the 10,000m races and were the first two gold medalists in the Games
Manny Sablan is flag bearer
CNMI baseball team catcher Manny Sablan was the Commonwealth’s flag bearer during the opening ceremony for the Micro Games last Sunday, according to CNMI chef de mission Michael White.
Sablan, his baseball teammates, the CNMI swimmers, some basketball players, and several members of the Commonwealth’s athletics team joined more than 1,000 athletes and officials from Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, Kosrae, Marshall Islands, Guam, Palau, and Nauru in the parade of delegations. White and fellow Northern Marianas Sports Association officials Rose Igitol and Kurt Barnes were with the Commonwealth’s athletes and coaches during the parade.
White, after the opening ceremony, encouraged the CNMI delegates to give their best performance in the Pohnpei.
“Play hard. Play fair. Do your best. Bring honor to the CNMI, your teammates, your families, and yourselves. Go CNMI!,” the chef de mission said.
Meanwhile, results of the swimming and basketball competitions in Day 1 were unavailable at press time. Preliminary swimming races were scheduled in the morning, while the finals were set in the afternoon. In basketball, the CNMI was set to meet Palau at 2pm (1pm Saipan time) in the men’s division, while the Commonwealth’s women’s squad was slated to duel Pohnpei at 6pm.
In baseball, the CNMI plays its first game today against defending champion Palau. Palau goes for win No. 2 after it downed Pohnpei, 5-3, in the opening game yesterday. Guam also won its first assignment, outclassing Kosrae, 7-4.