NMA to bid for Micronesian Athletics Championships hosting


Tang’s Corporation workers pour rubber crumbs to the lanes of the Oleai Sports Complex track oval last Tuesday. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Northern Marianas Athletics will try to bring back the Micronesian Athletics Championships to Saipan next year.

“We will be submitting a bid to host the 2018 MAC,” NMA secretary general Robin Sapong announced during the Northern Marianas Sports Association meeting early this month at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.

If the CNMI gets the nod from the Oceania Athletics Association this June, it will be the first time in over a decade that MAC will be held here. The last time the Commonwealth hosted MAC was in 2005, as the succeeding competitions were incorporated in the Oceania Area Championships that were held in Fiji and Australia before OAA decided to return to the sub-regional format in 2014. When MAC reverted to its old format, Pohnpei hosted the competition in 2016 with Team Marianas collecting seven gold medals, four silvers, and three bronzes and sprinter Zarinae Sapong getting the Outstanding Female Athlete award. In the 2005 MAC, the Commonwealth gained five gold, six silver, and 13 bronze medals.

Robin Sapong said Yap and Guam are the CNMI’s likely opponents in the bidding for the rights to host next year’s event. The NMA official hopes the Commonwealth has the edge in the bidding contest, especially now that the resurfacing work at the Oleai Sports Complex’s track and field facility is about to be completed.

Employees of Tang’s Corporation has started pouring rubber crumbs to the 400-meter oval this week and is expected to complete the process early next. The surface has to be dried up and cleaned before markings are done.

NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi, who coordinates with Tang’s Corporation in the development of the resurfacing work, added that the expert that will oversee the markings of the lanes may arrive on Saipan later this month, while he is anticipating the resurfacing work to be completed, weather permitting, before the month ends.

“We’re almost there. The contractor just have to be very precise with the layout and other stuff as we need to get the track recertified that’s why an expert from either New Zealand or Australia has to come here for the markings,” Rogolifoi said in an interview with Saipan Tribune.

The Oleai track and field facility has to get a Level II certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations to be able to host regional tournaments.

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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