Tebuteb said that although he could not speak on behalf of the CNMI government now, he remains optimistic that the administration will again extend its help.
“The [Saipan and Northern Islands] Delegation has done this before. We contributed and appropriated some funds previously and even then Gov. Benigno Fitial helped us a lot,” said Tebuteb.
The NMA head joined OAA president Geoff Gardner, vice president Trevor Spittle, treasurer Titana Juventin, executive director Yvonne Mullins, NMA secretary general Robin Sapong, and NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi and vice president Kurt Barnes in the ocular inspection of the facility last Monday.
After inspecting the track, OAA officials said they will send another OAA representative to assess the cost of repairs. Patches can be seen and bubbles had already formed around the track due to extreme weather conditions and years of use.
Gardner said it would cost an estimate of $1.25M to build a new track and field stadium, while around $100,000 is needed to replace the rubber surface and do other repairs.
Tebuteb said back in 2008, the delegation appropriated $30,000 to renovate the once OAA-certified track and field oval before Saipan’s hosting of the 2008 Oceania Regional Championships.
He said bringing back the track to OAA’s standards track could mean that Saipan can host athletics events again in the future.
“It can help the local economy and the CNMI’s tourism industry,” the NMA head said.
Tebuteb added hosting a regional or OAA event could bring in a minimum of 200 athletes, while officials, coaches and some members of their families can be added to the list.
Tebuteb also said that if the Oleai track facility is certified internationally and passed OAA’s standards, athletes who are training for various competitions that will be held in other Asian countries can go to Saipan to acclimatize.
“The opportunity for other countries to use this facility is big since the next Olympics after  Rio is in Tokyo (2020). Athletes who want to acclimatize can use the track since it is certified. They can come and train here,” Tebuteb said.
“I am confident that the government will help in the funding. The private sector is always there since they’ve supported all NMA activities in the past. The private sector is the backbone of the NMA and most of them support our annual programs. I’m confident they will also help us,” ended Tebuteb.(Jon Perez)