First-ever disabilities sportsfest postponed

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Public School System athletic director Nick Gross talks about the importance of the CNMI’s first Disabilities Sports Festival during the Rotary Club of Saipan’s weekly meeting last Tuesday. (Kimberly A.Bautista)

The CNMI’s first Disability Sports Festival that was scheduled for this weekend has been postponed until further notice due to inclement weather.

The Disabilities Sports Festival organized by the Office of the Governor was originally scheduled for this weekend starting on July 6 until July 7. The event was expected to be held at the Marianas High School.

The Sportsfest was expected to be one of the largest Sports Festivals in the CNMI with help coming from numerous groups and agencies, including massive support from the Rotary Club of Saipan.

Rotarians, in conjunction Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc., was supposed to hold one of the festival games—boccia, a precision ball sport derived from bocce but for persons with disabilities who use a wheelchair.

According to a previous interview with Rotary Club president-elect Greg Borja, the club was able to secure a grant from the Rotary district to host the boccia tournament.

Borja added that after learning that the governor’s office was planning to hold a disability sports festival, the Rotary Club decided to collaborate with the organizers and host one of the sporting events as part of the festival.

The club will provide the equipment and manpower to officiate at the games.

During the Rotary Club’s weekly meeting last Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Public School System athletic director Nick Gross was asked to speak about the upcoming festival and said that in his role as athletic director, he has constantly been looking for ways to include students with disabilities in outdoor activities and this Sportfest is really big for the CNMI.

Gross said that students with disabilities are capable to engage in certain activities, but they are just not given the opportunity. Gross said that this Sportsfest gives students and individuals with disabilities in general that opportunity.

The festival will offer sports like track and field events like shot put, javelin, and long jump. The festival will also offer bocce and boccia to cater to both mobile and immobile individuals. There will also be adaptive softball and sitting/paravolleyball. Last, the festival will also offer outrigger activities and hydrotherapy for those who want to get active in the water.

Kimberly Bautista | 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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