The Pacific Games Council is proposing to have the Pacific Youth Games in place of the Mini Games.
“The proposal aims to convert the Mini Games to the Pacific Youth Games. The Council is still trying to get consensus from the PGA and nothing is definite yet,” Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael White said during the NMASA meeting last Thursday at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
The Mini Games is held every four years and feature lesser sports than the Pacific Games, which is also a quadrennial competition. New Caledonia hosted the 2011 Pacific Games in September, while Wallis & Futuna will have the 2013 Mini Games. The CNMI submitted a bid for the hosting rights of the 2017 Mini Games but lost to Vanuatu.
When asked to comment on the proposal, Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association president Jeff Race said the idea may work against the CNMI junior netters.
“We have the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships every year and our funds are already allotted to this competition,” Race said.
Race added that CNMI junior players also have other regular tournaments that may conflict with the schedule of the Pacific Youth Games if the plan pushes through.
Baseball’s Tony Rogolifoi and canoe’s Gilbert Birnbrich agreed to Race, saying the Mini Games should not be replaced with the youth competition
Northern Marianas Swimming Federation president John Hirsh on the other hand welcomed the idea of having additional youth competition in the region. He said CNMI swimmers does not have much tournaments compared to other sports and when they do compete off-island, it’s against older and tougher opponents.
“We have the FINA World Cup and FINA World Championships where our young swimmers compete against world champions,” Hirsh said.
Having the Pacific Youth Games instead of the Mini Games is one of the several proposals made during the Council meeting last month. Another one is having a uniform cost for countries participating in the Mini and Pacific Games.
NMASA members said the idea is nice, but it is not practical, especially at this time of economic crisis.