NMSA committed to keep Mini Games hosting

Northern Mariana Sports Association president Michael White, right, reads the names of athletes getting monetary rewards from the group for winning medals in the 2018 Micronesian Games, while NMSA official John Davis, left, receives the checks from John Hirsh during last month’s NMSA Annual Banquet at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan. NMSA is hoping that the CNMI can still host the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

The Northern Marianas Sports Association is open to implementing measures that will keep the CNMI’s hosting rights for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.

“The Northern Marianas Sports Association understands and appreciates the governor’s position regarding the CNMI government’s support for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. Nonetheless, we are committed to working with the governor to find a way forward which will allow the Games to take place,” NMSA said in a press statement.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres in a letter to NMSA president Michael White last week, announced that the government is withdrawing its support to the CNMI’s hosting of the quadrennial event to focus on the continued recovery and rebuilding from Super Typhoon Yutu.

Despite the withdrawal, NMSA remains positive and immediately informed the Pacific Games Council about the recent turn of events. In response, PGC officials will be meeting with the governor next week to find ways to save the Mini Games.

“We are also pleased that the Pacific Games Council shares our desire to stage the Pacific Mini Games in 2021, and NMSA is grateful for the Council’s support. Next week, a delegation from the Council, consisting of vice president Marcus Stephen and PGC executive director Andrew Minogue, will travel to Saipan to meet with the Governor to discuss what can be done to keep the Games of 2021 alive. We remain hopeful that a solution is possible,” NMASA said.

“To this end, we are considering a number of measures which will reduce the government’s financial obligations and minimize any possible interruption of our efforts to recover from and rebuild after Super Typhoon Yutu. These measures may include scaling down the size of the Games, and looking to other sources of funding where possible,” the group added.

NMSA, during its presentation to the PGC’s general assembly in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in 2014, with the approval of the late governor Eloy S. Inos, pegged the cost of the Mini Games at $1,160,000. Out of the more than $1-million budget for the event, $650,000 will come from participation fees from the 24 nations, $250,000 from the government, and the remaining $260,000 from the private sector through sponsorships.

“Our bid for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games had the strong support of former governors Benigno R. Fitial and the late Eloy S. Inos. As a result of their efforts, the CNMI was selected in 2014 to host the Games. The Games will bring close to 2,000 athletes, coaches, officials, and fans from 24 countries across the Pacific to the Northern Mariana Islands. NMSA estimates that the Games will provide a boost of $12 to $15 million to our economy. The Games will leave a lasting legacy for our people, in the form of pride in our homeland and what we can accomplish when we put our minds to it,” NMSA said. (Saipan Tribune)

Saipan Tribune

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