Lean athletics team in Pacific Games

Traven Quitugua waits for the start of the 100m run finals during the 2019 Public School System/McDonald’s All Schools Track and Field Championships last Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex. Quitugua is one of the four athletes that will represent the CNMI in the athletics competition of the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa this summer. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Northern Marianas Athletics is sending only four athletes and a coach to Samoa for the 2019 Pacific Games this summer.

Three-time Northern Marianas Sports Association Female Athlete of the Year awardee Zarinae Sapong will lead the lean team and will be joined by Lia Rangamar, Traven Quitugua, and Beo Ngirchongor. NMA has yet to announce the events of the four CNMI bets, but Sapong is expected to compete in the 100m and 200m runs, while Rangamar is likely to enter in the field events, like javelin. Quitugua may be the Commonwealth’s entry in the sprint races in the men’s field, as he did the same 100m and 200m runs during the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap, while Ngirchongor have competed for the CNMI in the 400m and 110m hurdles before.

NMA developmental coach Elias Rangamar said they have modest goals in the Pacific Games, as they are aiming for personal bests and to make it past the first round.

The quadrennial meet will run from July 7 to 20 in Apia, while athletics competition will be held from July 15 to 20 at the Apia Park Stadium. Athletics is a medal rich event with 75 medals each in the men’s and women’s divisions at stake in the six-day contest.

With athletics one of the key factors in determining the overall winner of the Pacific Games, all 22 member-countries of the Pacific Games Council are sending athletes to this summer’s competition.

Meanwhile, the four Samoa-bound athletes will also compete in the 2019 Oceania Athletics Championships, which will be held next month in Australia. NMA is still finalizing the official list of its representatives to the regional games that will take place from June 25 to 28 in Townsville, North Queensland.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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