Mini Games warm-up for track team


Zarinae Sapong, seen here competing in the world championships in London this year, is one of the three members of the CNMI track team that will participate in the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu next month. (Contributed Photo)

The three-member CNMI national track and field team will be using the 10th Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu as a warm-up for two other sporting events next year—the Micronesian Athletics Championships and the Micronesian Games.

Saipan will be hosting the MAC in June, while the ninth edition of the Micro Games will be held in Yap from July 15 to 27.

Veterans Beo Ngirchongor and Zarinae Sapong, and newcomer Jamie Pangelinan were chosen to don the CNMI’s national colors in the Port Vila Mini Games that will kick off on Dec. 4 at the Korman Stadium.

The team will be leaving on Dec. 7—together with the CNMI men’s 3×3 squad—since competitions in athletics would only start on Dec. 11 and ends on Dec. 14 at the Korman Track Stadium.

Northern Marianas Athletics development officer Elias Rangamar, who will also coach the squad along with Ron Olopai, said they have been training hard to prepare for the Mini Games and they are hoping to establish personal best times in Vanuatu.

“We’re going to use this as a warm-up for next year’s [MAC] and the Micro Games. Beo and Zari are trying to keep their momentum going. The Mini Games in Vanuatu is an excellent event for them to see their progress,” said Rangamar.

“For Jamie, it is only for experience. At least she could get a feel of the high level competition. She’s still young, and needs exposure and more training,” he added.

Sapong, after the Mini Games, is expected to compete in the 2018 International Association of Athletics Federations World Indoor Championships from March 1 to 4. Birmingham City in England will host the World Indoors.

“Zari has been consistent with her performances. She’s using all of these [Mini Games and World Indoors] in time for the MAC in June and the July Micro Games. “She wants to do good with her personal best times that’s why she’s working very hard,” said Rangamar.

Sapong is the reigning MAC women’s 100 meter and 200m run champion with times of 13.35 and 27.87 seconds, respectively, with the latter a championship record. She also won a silver medal in the 400m run at 1:08.80, and led the NMI women’s team to bronze medal finishes in the 4×100 and 4x400m relay races in last year’s MAC in Pohnpei.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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