Oleai track still closed, waiting for markings
Northern Marianas Sports Association is appealing to the public to refrain from using the Oleai Sports Complex track and field facility as resurfacing work there has yet to be completed.
“Please be patient. The track is not yet open for public use,” NMSA executive director Tony Rogolifoi said in an interview with Saipan Tribune yesterday.
The four-lane, 400-meter track was resurfaced last week, but markings and railings have yet to be placed. Walkers and joggers have been seen using the track this week even though the fences are locked.
Rogolifoi said materials for the marking and the railings have been shipped and contractor Tang’s Corp. is waiting for their arrival. Rogolifoi was told that it would take a week or two for the markings to be done and for the railings to be placed. An expert will also be brought to Saipan to facilitate the proper markings, which should be done according to international standards so that the track could get back its Level II certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations.
A certification is needed for the CNMI to host international and regional track meets, such as the Micronesian Area Championships and Pacific Mini Games. Northern Marianas Athletics will put up a bid to host MAC next year when NMA president Ramon Tebuteb attends the Oceania Athletics Association Congress later this month, while the Mini Games will come to the CNMI in 2021.
Tonga withdrawal is final
Meanwhile, Tonga stood by its earlier decision to withdraw from hosting the 2019 Pacific Games.
Tonga Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva and two of his ministers met with Pacific Games Council president Vidhya Lakhan and CEO Andrew Minogue early this week and the former announced that their decision not to host the quadrennial meet is final.
In a press release from the council, it stated that Tonga wished to focus its resources on other more important areas of economic development and sports is not an urgent priority for its government.
“The PGC expressed its disappointment in not being consulted before the decision was taken and in the government’s unwillingness to negotiate a solution for whatever financial concerns it had. The prime minister was reminded that the government is a party to a legally binding contract and that in unilaterally withdrawing from hosting the Games, the PGC would seek legal advice with a view to formally terminate the host agreement and seek damages for breach of contract,” stated NMSA president Michael White in a press release sent to the Saipan Tribune.
“The PGC Executive Board has previously advised its members that it has put contingency plans in place for the process of selecting an alternative host nation quickly in the event that matters with the Tongan Government are not fully resolved by June 30. The Executive Board will now consider expediting this process further,” it added.
White shared the council’s sentiments and is positive that the Pacific Games will still push through.
“NMSA is disappointed that Tonga came to the conclusion that it was unable to honor its contract with the Pacific Games Council, and its promises to the countries and territories of the Pacific. We are hopeful that the Pacific Games Council will find a suitable replacement and that the Games will go on as scheduled in 2019,” White said.