Mini Games medal rush buoys CNMI Weightlifting 


The CNMI National Weightlifting Team in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 poses with Northern Marianas Sports Association president Jerry Tan and other NMSA officials during the Team NMI Celebration Dinner last July at Kensington Resort.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

By virtue of getting the lion’s share of the CNMI historic medal haul in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, local weightlifters’ performance in the quadrennial event was hands down the biggest achievement of CNMI Weightlifting last year.

“Along with the successful hosting of the Mini Games and Oceania Championships, once again CNMI Weightlifting more than carried its own weight (pun intended) in the NMI medal count, accounting for over 60% of the medals earned for the CNMI,” said CNMI Weightlifting president John Davis. 

At par with CNMI weightlifters bagging 11 gold, 10 silver, and two bronze medals, Davis said he’s equally impressed how the organization’s leadership pulled off hosting an almost flawless weightlifting competition in both the Mini Games and 2022 Oceania Senior Weightlifting Championships. 

“Despite many challenges and roadblocks presented along the way, the Pacific weightlifting community had nothing but praise for our hard work.” 

CNMI weightlifters leading the islands’ medal charge in the Mini Games came even as the sport continues to lack a training facility and that, Davis said, continues to be on top of CNMI Weightlifting’s wish list. 

“What was then and continues to be the biggest challenge for CNMI weightlifting athletes is having an adequate place and space to train. Hopefully that will be resolved, somewhat, at the beginning of 2023,” he said. 

As for events for the new year, the CNMI Weightlifting president said they already kicked off 2023 with the staging of the Northern Marianas Cup Weightlifting Tournament last Jan. 7 at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

He said they are also planning to have a mini-competition in February and March. 

“Once the Ada Gym is fully available we plan to have one competition each quarter. Once the national team is selected we plan to compete in the Micronesian Games in July and the Pacific Games in November,” he said.

Davis also took the opportunity to thank the following for helping CNMI Weightlifting succeed in 2022.

“We would like to thank Mr. Derek Cutting of Latte Built for making space for us to train. He now sponsors a Barbell Club which is led by Mini Games silver medalist and 2021 Oceania gold medalist Antonette Labausa. We would also like to thank Mr. Paul Coffa, Ms. Lilly Coffa, and their team of technical officials for making the 2022 NMI Pacific Mini Games weightlifting event a truly spectacular success. I’d also like to thank the Public School System and Board of Education chair Greg Borja, and PSS Athletics Program director Nick Gross and staff for their extraordinary efforts in preparing the Mini Games venue. Last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank Ms. Jeanne Rayphand for her often unappreciated work in keeping the weightlifting federation running,” he said.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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