Micronesian track meet on hold


CNMI and Guam runners compete in the 1,500m race during the 2018 Micronesian Regional Championships at the Oleai Sports Complex track oval. (Contributed Photo)

The Micronesian Regional Championships 2020, along with several other Oceania Athletics Association-sanctioned competitions, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Saipan was supposed to host the Micronesian tournament on June 13 and 14, according to Northern Marianas Athletics secretary general and OAA president Robin Sapong. OAA will be discussing the new dates of the regional event with the participating island-nations in the biennial competition.

“During this truly unprecedented situation, we firstly want to express our sincere best wishes and thoughts to everyone in our region. The health, safety, and wellbeing of our athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, and staff have always been our number one priority,” OAA said in an official statement posted at the group’s Facebook account and website.

“The spread of coronavirus has created much uncertainty, which has been concerning for all of us. We are carefully monitoring and will keep you updated on the directions and advice of World Athletics, government departments throughout the Pacific and the World Health Organization along with other relevant authorities,” OAA added.

Besides the Micronesian meet, OAA has also put on hold two other regional competitions—the Polynesian Championships at the Teufaiva Stadium in Tonga (original set for May 14 and 15) and the Melanesian Championships in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (June 24 and 25).

The host, American Samoa, Cook Islands, New Zealand, Tahiti, Samoa, and Tuvalu compete in the Polynesian Championships, while the Melanesian Championships features athletes from Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna, and PNG.

In the Micronesian Championships, the CNMI is joined by the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau. Saipan hosted the regional meet in 2018 with the CNMI winning 10 gold medals, 16 silvers, and 18 bronzes.

Meanwhile, the OAA Council Meeting in Tonga later this month has been canceled, as the group opted to hold a teleconference.

The two other OAA events—the Oceania Combined Championships and Oceania Half Marathon/Marathon—on the other hand are still on, but changes could still be made depending on the development in the COVID-19 crisis. The Oceania Combined Championships is scheduled for June 6 and 7 in Townsville, Australia, but may be moved to late September this year, while the Oceania Half Marathon/Marathon will take place on July 4 in Gold Coast.

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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