NMSA: We were on the same boat

Posted on Mar 21 2023

Northern Marianas Sports Association president Jerry Tan speaks during the 2022 NMSA Annual Sports Award Banquet last March 7 at the Hibiscus Hall of the Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan. (LEIGH GASES )

Northern Marianas Sports Association president Jerry Tan said they empathize with the Marshall Islands when they requested another delay in the staging of the 2023 Majuro Micronesian Games.

“The Northern Marianas Sports Association understands the difficult decision that the Micronesian Games Council, the Marshall Islands National Olympic Committee, and the organizing committee of the 10th Micronesian Games had to make. We were in the same position a couple of years ago when uncertainties caused by the pandemic prompted us to postpone the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games,” said Tan in a statement to the media. 

He added there are a lot of moving parts to hosting a multi-sports competition such as the Micronesian Games.

“One of the critical components are the venues, which in the Marshall Islands’ case are not yet ready. The safety of the athletes and other participants in the Micro Games is of utmost importance.”

The NMSA president went on to say that they will continue to communicate with the Marshall Islands and the Micronesian Games Council to update their national federations on the latest development about the Micro Games, particularly the new dates for the event. 

“For the meantime, we encourage our national federations to continue their preparations for the Games. We could take the Micronesian Games postponement as an opportunity to train longer, work on our logistical preparations for the competition, and gather more resources. The postponement may also give us more time to hold local tournaments that would help in our national teams’ preparations for the Micro Games as well as increase the pool of players we could tap not just for the Micro Games but also for other competitions,” he added.

Northern Marianas National Paddle Sports Federation president Justin Andrew said they’re disappointed after hearing news of the Micro Games indefinite delay.

“Upon hearing the postponement of the Micronesian Games in the Marshall Islands, it was a little bit disappointing because we looked forward to that race. You know, we were ready for it and we wanted it to happen, but they postponed it and now we don’t know when it’ll happen. We’re just hanging in the air now. We’re trying to adjust our work schedule, training, and family life. It has a chain reaction down to your personal life because you want to commit to something but now it’s postponed until we don’t know when.” 

He said the federation will be meeting next week with the athletes who are interested in trying out for the national team and hopefully they could get a more concrete update so they can plan better going forward.

CNMI Weightlifting Federation president John Davis said, unfortunately, he saw the Micro Games postponement coming.

“Unfortunately, I am really not surprised. But, these circumstances are beyond our control. Weightlifting will meet with our membership in a few weeks to discuss our options.”

Justis “Cuki” Alvarez, who owns Trench Tech Gym where mixed martial artists as well as wrestlers train, said the Micro Games postponement is something that could’ve been avoided.

“I feel that overall, it is definitely a lack of execution on all the committees involved who were responsible for making things happen that was the ultimate cause for the delay. I feel that the urgency to host the Games alone should have been all the leverage they needed to make things happen and be able to host the Games in July.”

Alvarez said, ultimately, the CNMI athletes preparing for the Games will be the ones suffering the most.

“All the athletes who have been training and preparing are the ones who will suffer the most because of all their valuable time invested in the days, weeks, months, and years they spent perfecting their craft was all done in vain.” (With reports from Leigh Gases)

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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