Northern Marianas Sports Association will be applying for grants for more improvement projects at the Oleai Sports Complex.
NMSA president Michael White announced the group’s plans during the 2016 NMSA Annual Sports Banquet last Thursday at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, saying continued repairs at the various facilities on island are needed as the CNMI prepares for the hosting of the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.
White said NMSA will look into the funds to have the Gilbert C. Ada Gynnasium air-conditioned and extend the grandstand at the Oleai Sports Complex. Grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been earlier approved for the repair works (ceiling/repainting) at the Ada gym (more documentations are required to start the project), while the resurfacing work at the track facility is ongoing.
White credited former NMSA vice president Kurt Barnes and NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi for working together to secure the grant from the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. for the resurfacing work at the track. The NMSA head added that the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios Ballfield and the Miguel “Basa” Pangelinan Ballfield will also undergo improvement.
“I am confident that these facilities will be ready way ahead before we host the Pacific Mini Games in 2021,” said White.
The Pacific Mini Games will bring more than 2,000 athletes, officials, and visitors to the CNMI, including those from New Zealand and Australia. The two Oceania countries will compete in select sports in the quadrennial event. The Pacific Mini Games, White added, is expected to pump in around $12 million to the Commonwealth’s economy.
With NMSA aiming to bring the best ever Pacific Mini Games on island, the association is counting on the support of all the stakeholders in the event.
“We have the support of our governor, Ralph Torres, and NMSA is also hoping to get the same strong support from the CNMI Legislature,” White said.
Meanwhile, the NMSA head also announced that the CNMI will have around 30 delegates (athletes and officials) to the 2017 Pacific Mini Games that will be held in Vanuatu this December. Team CNMI will compete in athletics and rugby 7’s.