Countdown to Mini Games begins

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The Pacific Mini Games Organizing committee discusses the upcoming launch day commemorating the start of the countdown to Pacific Mini Games 2022 that will be hosted by the CNMI. (Kimberly B. Esmores)

The Pacific Mini Games Organizing Committee has announced the official launch date commemorating the start of the countdown for the 2022 Pacific Mini Games that will be hosted by the CNMI.

According to Ben Babauta, Mini Games Organizing Committee CEO, the launch will feature the official unveiling of the Mini Games logo, and the committee will officially start the timer for 365 days until the opening day of the event on June 17, 2021. That’s exactly a year before the start of the quadrennial event the Commonwealth will be hosting for the very first time.

“For the launch, we will be unveiling our logo, and officially kick off one year to go to game day. It is quite exciting as we also gear up our facility to be in compliance and game-ready for these athletes, top level athletes coming to the Northern Mariana Islands,” he said.

Babauta said the reason for the launch is to also excite the community as preparations start for the big event because not only is it the CNMI’s first time hosting such a large-scale event, it also commemorates the CNMI reopening its borders to international athletes and visitors since COVID-19 hit over a year ago.

“So, it’s quite exciting for Saipan to host this Mini Games. It’s an opportunity for both the community to experience this first-class event and it is also an opportunity for the businesses to avail of new sports tourism. Lastly, it will feature our culture on island,” he said.

The Pacific Mini Games, which will be held next year from June 17 to June 25, 2022, expects to invite athletes from 24 countries.

As of May 12, Babauta said over 1,004 athletes and a couple of hundred technical officials are confirmed to compete in the nine events the CNMI will be hosting which includes athletics, badminton, baseball, beach volleyball, golf, weightlifting, tennis, and va’a (outrigger canoe).

“We have invited 24 countries and so far we received numerical information from 17 countries numerical, meaning information on how many athletes are confirmed by game by event, how many officials are coming and that includes medical team because they actually have their own, and also official dignitaries from the Pacific Game Association and the Pacific Games Council,” he said.

In terms of how many visitors are expected to join the event, Babauta said they expect around 1,800 overall.

“We are expecting like close to about 1,800, but again we’ll get more confirmation as the months to come. We do have travel restrictions still so we’re being cautious,” he said.

Babauta announced the launch date for the Mini Games countdown during a Northern Marianas Sports Association meeting yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium conference room.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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