The Northern Marianas Athletics will join Oceania Athletics Association and other sports organizations across the globe in observing the Safer Sport Day.
Created by the International Safeguards for Children in Sport Initiative in partnership with more than 60 groups to make sport safer for children, Safer Sport Day is celebrated every Aug. 8. The campaign aims to raise awareness and promote actions, and adapts a theme every year. This year’s theme is “Take the Pledge” to make sports safer for children by considering and promoting the eight guidelines in safeguarding children’s journey to sports through social media platforms and the organizations’ events.
“We, at NMA continue to provide our athletes development opportunities while ensuring their welfare and safety as they navigate their way towards improving their skills. We have knowledgeable coaches who help our athletes train and compete,” NMA president Ray Tebuteb said.
Unfortunately, at this time, NMA and majority of the members of the sports community on island, were forced to suspend their activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tebuteb said that despite the lull, NMA is using the time off to think of ways how to safely return to sports activities, especially the events that involved children.
“It’s a work in progress, particularly at these trying times when we have restrictions and we need to follow safety protocols. We will be taking to all stakeholders, including the schools, on how we can move forward with our programs safely,” Tebuteb said.
The All Schools track and cross-country meets are two of NMA’s programs that cater to children and since the association could not hold the former in the first quarter of the year due to the pandemic, Tebuteb is hoping that the latter could go ahead.
Cross-country season usually starts in October or a little over a month after a new school year begins. NMA is hoping to utilize the event to promote one of World Athletics’ six major initiatives—“Giving every child in the world access to sport”—and share the eight guidelines on making sports safer for children.
Based on the International Safeguards for Children in Sport Initiative, the guidelines are as follows: developing your policy; procedures for responding to safeguarding concerns; advice and support; minimizing risks to children; guidelines for behavior; recruiting, training and communicating; working with partners; and monitoring and evaluating.
The pledge, on the other hand, is read as “We are committed to working towards safer sport for all children everywhere. We pledge to promote and advocate for the safeguards through our networks, and commit to embedding them in our work.”
Meanwhile, Tebuteb is encouraging other sports organizations in the CNMI and their partners to observe the Safer Sport Day.