Northern Marianas Athletics officials met last Saturday to begin its preparation for the 2018 Micronesian Athletic Championships, which Saipan will be hosting from June 14 to 16. The meeting was held at Hyatt Regency Saipan.
Top priority is the venue, the Oleai track and field, as it still needs to get Level II certification from the International Association of Athletics Federation. The track oval was closed for more than a year and was renovated and finished in late June.
This will be the second time the CNMI will be hosting the MAC, the first one was in December 2005 when the Commonwealth bagged 24 medals—five gold, six silver, and 13 bronze medals. The CNMI also hosted the 2008 Oceania Athletics Championship winning silver and two bronze medals.
NMA development officer Elias Rangamar said they are preparing for the re-opening of the track. NMA officials are expecting the IAAF inspector to arrive next month.
“We want to make sure our development programs would continue once the track is open again. We’re still waiting for the eight-lane track to be certified by the IAAF,” said Rangamar.
IAAF rules state that application for certification must have full details of the product (track) including materials and technical drawings, while laboratories they duly recognize should test samples of the materials used.
The IAAF track certification is necessary to make sure the facility is ready for competition to secure the athletes and the integrity of their performances. The Oleai track was the only Level II facility in the region but deteriorated over the years.
After the MAC, the next major competition that Saipan will be hosting is the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.