“We will be working closely with officials of the Northern Marianas Athletics and the Northern Marianas Sports Association so we can give them new equipment ,” OAA executive director Yvonne Mullins said.
Mullins talked to NMA officials, and Northern Marianas Sports Association president Mike White and vice president Kurt Barnes during a visit on Saipan early this week and discussed mainly its long-term goal of repairing the track.
“The long term plan is to repair the track and get the equipment here,” said Mullins, who had a two-day working visit on Saipan together with OAA president Geoff Gardner, vice president Trevor Spittle, and treasurer Titana Juventin.
She added that aside from the track oval, NMA’s equipment had deteriorated the past six years as well.
“It is just not putting up a new track down but also getting new equipment that is up to world standards and can be used for regional and area championships,” Mullins said.
OAA will be bringing in equipment that are used in long jump, pole vault, high jump, javelin and discus throw, shot put, and hurdles.
Mullins said fixing the track and getting new equipment could give Saipan hosting rights in the future.
She added there’s also a plan of putting up a photo finish equipment that would further help the NMA in officiating races, especially with Saipan hosting the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.
“Saipan needs a photo finish booth and equipment. It is not cheap since it costs $35,000 but it will give you a fair and accurate result. Hopefully, we can get all of this done by 2021 so Saipan will have another great facility,” Mullins said.
Mullins said the NMA could start training new athletes, coaches, and officials once the new facility and equipment are in place.
“Athletics is not only about the athletes. It is the whole package. We need new and more coaches who can get you more athletes to train. Officials need to be updated, too,” she added.
Mullins said there’s a lot of work to be done but with NMA, NMSA, and OAA joining hands the task at hand will be accomplished.
“2021 is not that far away, less than seven years from now. We will be back here to hold a bigger event and the CNMI doesn’t want to just have a good looking track, but also a topnotch team that can compete against the best of Micronesia and the Pacific,” the OAA official said. (Jon Perez)