The Northern Marianas Sports Association has officially requested the inclusion of tennis and weightlifting on the calendar of events for the 2022 Pacific Mini Games.
The appeal was made during the NMSA General Assembly last Thursday at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan through Pacific Games Council chief executive officer Andrew Minogue, who attended the meeting virtually.
In response, Minogue said NMSA’s request will be discussed at the PGC’s meeting on Dec. 7.
The 2022 Pacific Mini Games, which Saipan will be hosting, originally lined up 12 sports in its program in 2019 before the number was trimmed down to six due to budgetary constraints, as the CNMI back then was still recovering from Super Typhoon Yutu.
The six sports approved for the Mini Games are athletics, badminton, beach volleyball, golf, triathlon, baseball.
“It will be good to make the Mini Games bigger by adding two more sports. We will discuss the request and make a quick decision as soon possible so athletes and officials can start preparing,” said Minogue.
The NMSA membership has strongly pushed for the addition of the two sports that have delivered for the CNMI in the past off-island competitions. Tennis handed the Commonwealth three gold medals (men’s singles, team event, and mixed doubles) and silver (men’s doubles) in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa. Weightlifting, on the other hand, brought hope 15 medals (six gold medals, seven silvers, and three bronzes) from the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap.
Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association president and many-time CNMI national coach Jeff Race, at this early, assured that the players that gave the Commonwealth medals in the Pacific Games last year will be committed to don the colors of the host country if their sport is added to the 2022 Mini Games program.
The quadrennial competition, which was supposed due to take next year, but was moved due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held from June 17 to 25, less than a month before the 2022 Micronesian Games kick off in the Marshall Islands.