Regardless of the overall medal tally, Nick Gross believes the CNMI’s recent participation in the two-week Micronesian Games in Yap captures the increasing level of sports skills in the region.
Gross, who is the Public School System’s athletic director, also hopes the CNMI’s participation in the Micro Games would “reignite that fire” within Saipan athletes for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games that will be held on Saipan and the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Saipan at the Hyatt Regency Saipan, Gross recounted the CNMI’s successful participation in the Micro Games, noting the emergence of competitiveness in sports in the CNMI and its implication for CNMI athletes in future islandwide sports events.
Gross acknowledged Yap’s competence to stage the huge competition, “It was a true stress test on their infrastructure and their ability to put on such as big event. Kudos to Yap and their delegation,” said Gross.
At the Micro Games, Gross competed in javelin, shot put, and indoor volleyball, vying against teams representing the Marshall Islands, Palau, Kiribati, Guam, Yap, Nauru, Chuuk, and Kosrae. He placed third in the javelin section and earned fourth place in shot put.
“The level of playing is beyond what we are accustomed to seeing here on island and it was incredible to be part of it,” he said.
He believes it was a lesson learned for CNMI athletes and hopes it will motivate them to do well at the upcoming Pacific Mini Games on Saipan and Pacific Games in Samoa.
He wishes for athletes and sports programs to start preparing now for a chance for the CNMI community to shine and stand out. This will also be a chance for Saipan to further improve its sports infrastructure.
Rotary president Greg Borja is already looking forward to the Pacific Mini Games. “It’s [going to be] an experience for our athletes. It will take a lot in terms of infrastructure. Like Nick said, about 1,300 to 1,500 athletes who will potentially be coming to our island from all around the Pacific,” said Borja.