Northern Marianas Sports Association president Jerry Tan is looking at 2024 as the launch of the proposed Marianas Cup competition between CNMI and Guam.
“We are also working on a new Games, which we’re targeting to start in 2024. This Games we’re looking at 16 sports. More details will come later after we are able to sit down with the Guam National Olympic Committee, but we already have some initial dialogue,” he said during the Team NMI Celebration Dinner held last month at Kensington Hotel Saipan,
Tan added that he wants CNMI sports federations to compete every year and is looking at the Marianas Cup against neighboring Guam as the ideal solution
“What we are trying to achieve is to make sure that we provide as many international competition opportunities for all of you. That’s every year so you don’t have to wait four years for the next Micronsian Games, Pacific Games, or Mini Games. You need to go out and compete every year even if it’s just against Guam on an annual basis.
Under NMSA’s Marianas Cup concept, CNMI teams will challenge Guam teams every year. So far, four options on how the Marianas Cup would proceed has been suggested. The first option would be Guam hosting as much as 18 sports. The second option is that the CNMI will take the hosting duties. The third is the CNMI and Guam will split the sports with half taking place in the latter and the other half in the former. The fourth, which NMSA president Jerry Tan concedes is the most doable, is individual sports will arrange their respective Marianas Cup events against their counterpart sports federations in Guam.
Tan earlier said the genesis of the Marianas Cup idea came about following the postponement of the 2022 Micronesian Games. He said a lot of athletes training for the 2022 Games in the Marshall Islands would effectively have to wait another year to compete in a regional event.
The Marianas Cup, Tan said, would give athletes the impetus to train year-round because they always have a yearly competition to look forward to.
Aside from annual competition against Guam, the NMSA president said he wants to promote all sports starting at the grassroots level and that’s where its partnership with the CNMI Public Schools System—specifically the PSS Athletic Program led by director Nick Gross—comes in.
“At the end of the day, we want to continue to grow the sport on a grassroots level. We’re gonna work closely with PSS in the interscholastic level and also we just want to make sure that our elite athletes have that opportunity to go and represent our flag every year and every Games.