As chef de mission of the CNMI delegation to the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, Bob Coldeen said Team CNMI is ready as it could be to make the home crowd proud in the 11th staging of the quadrennial event.
“Team NMI is ready. Athletes from all the nine sports we are competing in have been training hard and approaching peak performance now,” he told Saipan Tribune.
The former KSPN news and sports director said he doesn’t have a prediction on how many medals Team CNMI will win in the Mini Games, but he’s confident the islands’ athletes will do the best of their abilities.
“Anything can happen. Hopefully tennis and baseball win medals. Maybe weightlifting can sneak in but since this will be the Oceania Championships and an Olympic qualifier, the field is stacked. Athletics is loaded. Who knows in other sports? Maybe wearing those slick NMI uniforms will turn them into magical performers. And one can win without winning a medal if it’s a personal best,” he said.
Coldeen also said currently they haven’t selected the CNMI flag bearer for the Mini Games opening ceremony set for June 17 at the Oleai track and field inside the Oleai Sports Complex.
In all, 1,034 athletes from 20 countries will compete in the Mini Games. The CNMI and Fiji will have the most participants with 125 athletes apiece. The Solomon Islands has the second most athletes for the Mini Games with 117, followed by New Caledonia (109), Guam (101), Papua New Guinea (91), Tahiti (90), Palau (47), Wallis & Futuna (42), Nauru (38), Samoa (31), Vanuatu (28), Kiribati (23), Australia (19), Tuvalu (15), Tonga (12), Cook Islands (10), Federated States of Micronesia (7), American Samoa (3), and Norfolk Island (3).
The sport with the most athletes entered is athletics with 329, followed by outrigger canoe or va’a (182), weightlifting (131), tennis (98), baseball (96), badminton (64), golf (61), beach volleyball (38), and triathlon (35).
Athletics will have 18 countries participating, namely American Samoa with two athletes, Australia with 14, Cook Islands with one, FSM with four, Fiji with 61, Guam with 13, Kiribati with 13, Nauru with 12, New Caledonia with 44, Northern Marianas with 25, Palau with six, PNG with 47, Samoa with 10, Solomon Islands with 41, Tahiti with 20, Tonga with five, Tuvalu with three, and Vanuatu with eight.
For badminton, eight countries will see action—Guam with eight, New Caledonia with nine, Northern Marianas with 12, Solomon Islands with eight, Tahiti with 12, Tuvalu with three, and Vanuatu with 12.
Baseball has five countries throwing their hats in the ring and they are Fiji with 18, Guam with 20, Northern Marianas with 20, Palau with 20, and Solomon Islands with 18.
For beach volleyball, there are 11 countries with Guam, Kiribati, Northern Marianas, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tahiti, Vanuatu, and Wallis & Futuna entering the full complement of two men’s and two women’s players, while New Caledonia, Samoa, and Tuvalu are only sending their two-man men’s teams.
In golf, there are also 11 countries entered with Fiji, Guam, New Caledonia, Northern Marianas, and Solomon Islands having eight players each. PNG and Tahiti will be sending four apiece, while Cook Islands will have a three-person team. Both Samoa and Vanuatu will have two players each coming.
Northern Marianas, Fiji, Guam, Nauru, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, and Tahiti will have eight players each in tennis, while PNG, Samoa, and Vanuatu will have seven apiece. The rest of the countries taking part in tennis are Cook Islands (2), FSM (3), Kiribati (5), Tonga (6), Tuvalu (3), Vanuatu (3), and Wallis & Futuna (
In triathlon, Northern Marianas, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, and Tahiti will have six athletes each, followed by Guam (4) and Palau (1).
Va’a will have the following entries per country: Cook Islands (2), Fiji (6), Guam (24), New Caledonia (28), Norfolk Island (3), Northern Marianas (28), Palau (1), PNG (28), Solomon Islands (4), Tahiti (8) and Wallis & Futuna (20).
For weightlifting, Solomon Islands will have the most entries with 20 followed by Nauru and Fiji with 18 apiece, Northern Marianas and Tahiti with 14 each, Guam with 12, Samoa with six, Australia and PNG with five each, New Caledonia and Tuvalu with four each, Cook Islands and Vanuatu with two each, and Kiribati with one.