2021 PACIFIC MINI GAMES
The new leadership of the Northern Marianas Sports Association will ask the Pacific Games Council to add weightlifting and tennis in the sports that will be offered when Saipan hosts the XI Pacific Mini Games next year.
“Weightlifting and tennis are two sports that we reached out to and we hope to increase from six to eight the number of sports for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games,” said NMSA president Jerry Tan during last night’s monthly membership meeting at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium conference room.
Since you can only add sports from the inaugural Mini Games held in Honiara, Solomon Islands in 1981, the CNMI is limited on the sports it can add.
“The only sports that we can add back based on my understanding are the original 12 sports. Weightlifting and tennis are part of the original 12,” said Tan.
The NMSA president said it’s in the best interest of the CNMI to put on sporting events that its athletes could be competitive in and earn medals from.
“As a host country, I think most of you would appreciate, you really want to put in your best sports that would almost guarantee medals. That’s how the host country always get a higher medal count from the previous Games when they adopt sports that they’re good at.”
To begin with, Tan said weightlifting and tennis should’ve been included in the 2021 Pacific Mini Games .
“To a certain extent I cannot believe tennis and weightlifting were not included. That doesn’t matter as we have the opportunity to add these two sports and we should move toward that so we had separate meetings with John [Davis] and Jeff [Race],” he said.
Davis is the president of the CNMI Weightlifting Federation, while Race heads the Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association.
If the Pacific Games Council green-lights the addition of tennis in the 2021 Pacific Mini Games, Race said they hopefully would use two venues—the American Memorial Park in Garapan and the Pacific Islands Club Saipan in San Antonio.
Luckily, the management of the AMP plans to resurface its tennis courts and it will be done in time for the Pacific Mini Games.
Race also said gold medalists from last year’s Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa—Colin Sinclair and Robbie Schorr—will again spearhead the CNMI’s medal hopes in the 2021 edition of the quadrennial event.
“We’re absolutely going to win medals. I told you guys before that if we didn’t win medals in the 2019 Pacific Games then I was going to eat my hat and I still got it!” said Race, while raising his blue ballcap.
Davis, for his part, said the weightlifting federation needs equipment and a spacious venue. “Weightlifting is a sport that needs a lot of space to put on a competition.”
Tan said it is NMSA’s hope that the Pacific Games Council will approve their petition to add the two sports in the calendar of events for next year’s Pacific Mini Games.
“Most important is these are two good, solid programs that showed successful results in previous Games and we want them to be in the Mini Games. That’s why we reached out to [longtime NMSA board member] John Hirsh and Jeff to make sure that they want to be part of the Games and fortunately they said ‘yes’ and so we’re moving toward that…Hopefully will have that done and we’ll have eight sports instead of just six.”
The six sports the CNMI originally committed to stage for next year’s Pacific Mini Games are athletics, baseball, badminton, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon.