Forming Athletes’ Commission is top priority

Posted on Oct 06 2022

Delegates to the 5th Oceania Athletes’ Forum gather for a group photo during the opening of the event in Suva, Fiji last Sept. 22. (ONOC PHOTOS)

Pacific Mini Games medalist Janelle Pangilinan is back on island after representing the NMI in the 5th Oceania Athletes’ Forum in Fiji late last month and has taken with her insights on promoting and supporting the development and welfare of her fellow athletes.

Pangilinan, who won a bronze medal in the badminton competition of the 2022 Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games, joined more than 30 athlete-representatives from Oceania in the Sept. 22 to 24 forum that had “Building Bridges and Breaking Barriers” as theme. The group discussed the challenges athletes in the region faced during the pandemic and how they survived them, as well as the resources available and initiatives created to help athletes move forward with their sporting careers and lead their respective organizations.

“I learned information on grants and other resources available to athletes to further our growth and open more opportunities for us on and off the field,” said Pangilinan, who was joined in the forum by Khristelle Itaas of the NMI women’s national soccer team.

Oceania athletes, including the NMI’s Janelle Pangilinan, second left, and Khristelle Itaas, third left, listen to one of the guest speakers at the forum. (ONOC PHOTOS)

Itaas said it’s truly inspiring to be surrounded with many dedicated athletes who became Olympians and to hear the struggles that they managed to overcome, which contributed to who they are today. The forum, which was organized by the Oceania National Olympic Committees’ Athletes’ Commission, had three-time BMX world champion and Olympic silver medalist Sarah Walker and multiple-Olympian hockey player Kayla Whitelock of New Zealand, and Arthur Milroy of the International Olympic Committee as speakers. Papua New Guinea Olympian Ryan Pini was also part of the group as athletes’ representative to the Pacific Games Council’ executive board.

Pangilinan and Itaas are determined to use the information they learned from the forum to initiate the establishment of an Athletes’ Commission in the NMI under the guidance of the Northern Marianas Sports Association, which is an associate member of the ONOC. Article VII of the amended NMSA Bylaws, Committees and Commissions, Section 2, calls for the establishment of an Athletes’ Commission which shall represent the interests of active athletes affiliated with the NMSA. The Athletes’ Commission shall elect its own officers and directors and is entitled to nominate one member to the NMSA board.

“During the forum’s session, we were tasked to make action plans and the first step to accomplishing these plans is to form an Athletes’ Commission in the NMI. Khristelle and I will share the inputs provided to us and will work with the different NMSA-member federations in engaging our fellow athletes to a series of discussions on how to establish the Athletes’ Commission,” Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile, the NMSA would like to thank ONOC general secretary Ric Blas and the forum organizers and support staff, and the PGC for providing NMI athletes the opportunity to attend the 5th Oceania Athletes’ Forum.

“The NMSA is committed to assisting our athletes in the establishment of the Athletes’ Commission so we’re deeply grateful to ONOC and the PGC that they’ve extended the invitation to our athletes to attend the forum. Exposure to this type of activities is one of the major steps we have to take, as we work toward fully supporting the creation of an Athletes’ Commission. We will continue to engage ONOC and its Athletes’ Commission to give us guidance on this very important undertaking,” NMSA president Jerry Tan said. (PR)

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