Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan is confident that the CNMI will be able to successfully host the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 after completing yesterday a short three-day trip to assess the islands’ preparedness for the quadrennial event set from June 17 to 25 this year.
Lakhan, who was joined on the trip by Pacific Games Council executive director Andrew Minogue, said the Northern Marianas Sports Association and the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games Organizing Committee have acquitted themselves well given the challenges brought about by COVID-19 and postponement due to Super Typhoon Yutu.
“The last three days we took the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the competition managers and the venue managers and at the end of it, we are very confident that with the Games being less than 60 days away the place they’re in as far as we are concerned we’re very, very confident,” he said during yesterday’s press conference at the NMSA conference room inside the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Lakhan added that what impressed him the most is the competency of the people he was able to talk to.
“In my meetings I found that the people involved and those in charge of organizing the various competitions in the different sports are fairly knowledgeable. They appreciate what they have to do and now they appreciate the urgency of having some of the things done. Admittedly there are one or two concerns about venues,” he said.
The two venues he alluded to are the Oleai track and field and the Francisco “Tanko” M. Palacios Baseball Field, which are both undergoing major facelifts and will be out of commission until the end of May.
“It’s not to say there are no areas that they need to work on to ensure that come 17th of June we will be fully ready to start the Games. This afternoon we had a session with the games organizing committee and some of the members of the sports [that will be played in the Games] and we advised them about some of the areas of concern and told them they’re not major, but we can’t leave them for another day. They’ve been advised that they need to do and if necessary start working overtime.”
While Minogue was able to tour the venues for baseball, badminton, and athletics (Oleai Sports Complex), golf (Coral Ocean Point Resort), va’a (waters off 13 Fishermen Monument), beach volleyball (Crowne Plaza Resort), tennis (American Memorial Park and Pacific Islands Club Saipan), and weightlifting (Marianas High School Gymnasium), he and Lakhan weren’t able to travel to Rota (triathlon) and Tinian (beach volleyball consolation matches) due to time constraints.
Lakhan, however, was assured by the Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association and the Triathlon Association of the CNMI that work on the sports venues there are progressing.
The Pacific Games Council president also said that the organizing committee and NMSA are also fortunate that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is completely onboard to the CNMI’s successfull hosting of the Mini Games
“You are very, very fortunate that you have a governor who is fully committed to support the Games to the hilt. He has committed himself and his government to support the games organizing committee and NMSA to ensure that we have an excellent Games in six or seven weeks’ time. It’s appreciated and we keep telling the members of the games organizing committee that they’re not doing it for themselves but they’re doing it for their [islands] and they’re aware that they need to put on an excellent Games that will make the people and the islands proud of their achievement.”
He added that the Pacific Games Council has no doubt that the CNMI will succeed in giving them a memorable Mini Games.
“The Games Council on our part is doing whatever we can to impart all are knowledge and experience to these guys who are organizing the Games for the first time and pointing them toward the right direction and ensuring that in the little time they have available they’ll overcome all the errors and shortcomings and be fully prepared to host the Games.”