More than 5,000 athletes and officials will be participating in the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa, making this year’s meet one of the biggest in the history of the quadrennial event.
According to the list of eligible athletes posted at the Pacific Games Council website, 5,365 athletes and officials from 24 countries (22 regular Pacific Games Association-member nations plus guests Australia and New Zealand) will be in Samoa for the Pacific Games that will kick off this Sunday and run until July 20.
Incidentally, when Samoa hosted the XIII Pacific Games in 2007, a record-number of athletes (5,000) was also registered. The XVIV Pacific Games in New Caledonia in 2011 also drew 5,000 athletes. The first Pacific Games, which was held in Suva, Fiji in 1963, featured 646 athletes in 13 sports.
Host Samoa, as expected, has the most number of athletes and officials with over 500. The CNMI is among the island-nations with a lean delegation, as the Commonwealth will have only 36 athletes competing. Tahiti, American Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Guam, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu are sending big teams, as they listed over 100 athletes.
New Caledonia, the overall champion for five straight editions of the Games (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011) before PNG snapped the streak in 20015 when the competition was held in Port Moresby, is bringing in more than 300 athletes.
Australia has signed up a little over 100, athletes, while New Zealand has less than 100.
Twenty-seven sports will be played in Samoa with Team CNMI entered in only seven: athletics, badminton, beach volleyball, va’a, golf, tennis, and swimming.
Tennis players Colin Ramsey, Bobby Cruz, Isabel Heras, Ken Song, Malika Miyawaki, and Tania Tan, coach Jeff Race and assistant coach Lydia Tan will leave for Samoa tomorrow for a stop in Fiji where they will meet other team members, Carol Lee and Robbie Schorr. Colin Sinclair completes the squad and will go straight to Samoa from the Netherlands. Tennis will be played from July 8 to 19.
Golf is set from July 10 to 13, so Joe “Kamikaze” Camacho, Ryan Kim, Sebastian Camacho, Marco Peter, and J.J. Atalig will also be among the athletes leaving Saipan before the week ends to make it to the opening ceremonies this Sunday and have time to practice in Samoa before the competition.
Badminton’s Andreu Galvez, Nicole Malasarte, Janelle and Jordan Pangilinan, Daniel and Ezekiel Macario; swimming’s Richard Sikkel, Juhn Tenorio, Aika Watanabe, Sophia Gauran, Jinju Thompson, Lennosuke Suzuki, and David Boyer; vaa’s Mayiah Duenas, Kalea Andrew, Jack Aahn, and Steven Goodwin; and beach volleyball’s Tyce and Logan Mister will also leave this week. Athletics’ Zarinae Sapong, Lia Rangamar, Traven Quitugua, and Beo Ngirchongor will be the last to depart for Samoa as the track and field events are scheduled from July 15 to 20. Tania Tan is also part of the CNMI athletics team.