Oceania National Olympic Committees secretary general Ricardo Blas said it’s befitting that ONOC marked Olympic Day last June 23 at the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 on Saipan.
“Olympic Day is a celebration of sport and more particularly the advancement of programmes for athletes, as directed by the International Olympic Committee,” he said.
Speaking from the 11th staging of the quadrennial event in the capital island of the CNMI, Blas said that Olympic Day represents a day for athletes around the world, by honoring those (athletes) who have committed themselves to the success of the global sporting community.
“And with this year’s theme of ‘Move for Peace’ we remember the Ukrainian athletes who continue to face challenges under a lot of undue pressure,” Blas said.
“And what a tribute this is, to mark today pn Saipan for the Pacific Mini Games where we are still celebrating the sports movement in a tiny Pacific Island in the north.”
Blas also said the Games demonstrates the resilience of Oceania in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We enjoyed the Tokyo Olympic Games last year on a minimum standard to safeguard the athletes and the Japanese community.”
He said the Olympic movement has remained stronger together with good leadership and called on everyone to join the movement in whatever form or way to promote sports and the role of sports in advocating peace.
Reflections on the Pacific Mini Games
Oceania is represented by 17 Olympic countries and six associate members so Blas said ONOC’s support last week has been through the National Olympic Committees’ participation here.
“Their presence elevates the competition as well as the delivery level of the event,” Blas said.
“It also exposes and promotes a country like the CNMI to the rest of the world,” he added.
There are also continuing discussions between ONOC and the Pacific Games Council on the joint delivery of the Pacific Games in Oceania.
Blas also had this message to the athletes of the Games:
“You came, you endured, you showed strength and to those standing on the podiums, never forget those that are not on the podium with you—and that had contributed to your success.”
He also extended his best wishes to everyone as they start their journey home soon.
Blas encouraged them to keep training hard as they’ve got a year and six months left before they all meet in Honiara (2023) and soon after that Palau (in 2025) and also Tahiti (in 2027).
“We continue to encourage all the NOCs and Associate Members to focus on their development programmes and also their athletes,” Blas commented.
Staff of the ONOC Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, celebrated Olympic Day with a zumba session and a 2.5-kilometer walk last June 22. (PR)