After Super Typhoon Yutu struck Saipan and damaged majority of the sports facilities here, Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association may have to pass up on the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
“I would say it’s highly doubtful at this point, but we would try our hardest to make it possible,” NMIVA president Lauri Peterka said.
NMIVA, during the previous Northern Marianas Sports Association meetings, said the group is interested in sending teams to next year’s Pacific Games that will be held from July 7 to 20. Initially, NMIVA informed NMSA during last month’s meeting that it will have men’s and women’s beach volleyball teams and will also field a men’s squad in the indoor competition.
However, after the super typhoon hit the island, it will be very challenging for NMIVA to have players and resources available for the Mini Games, as Saipan is now focused on recovery efforts. NMIVA, with its remaining resources, will instead focus on local events and the 2021 Mini Games that the CNMI will be hosting.
“It’s more likely that we will focus our resources locally to keep expanding our player base and try to reinvest to get ready for 2021 (Pacific Mini Games) here on Saipan,” Peterka said.
NMIVA coordinates with school competitions, such as the Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Volleyball League and the PSS Interscholastic Volleyball League, which fortunately concluded its middle school and girls high school tournaments before Yutu slammed Saipan. A four-person beach volleyball event also took place at the Hyatt Regency Saipan sand court a few weeks before the Category 5 typhoon hit the island. For off-island events, NMIVA sent a men’s team to Yap for the 2018 Micronesian Games held last July.
Meanwhile, Peterka said NMIVA had already reached out to Oceania Zonal Volleyball Association and the Fédération Internationale de Volleyball to ask for support, as the local federation joins the rest of the community in bouncing back from Yutu.