With the Mini Games Organizing Committee wrapping up operations at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, chair Marco T. Peter took time to reflect on the gargantuan task they were able to accomplish in successfully hosting the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022.
“This was a proud moment for the CNMI. The Mini Games was a success! The main ingredient contributing to the success of the Games is the people of the CNMI. Hosting for the first time, the CNMI rose to the challenge and delivered an exceptional Mini Games, raising the bar for other host nations to follow. The hospitality from the residents reverberated throughout the CNMI during the Games,” he said.
Peter said what made the successful hosting more incredible was the natural disasters that hindered the already short time frame the CNMI had in pulling off its hosting duties following the devastating from Super Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 and Super Typhoon in 2018, not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In 2014, the CNMI was selected to host the 2022 Pacific Mini Games. Plagued with obstacle after obstacle, from 2014 to 2021, the outlook to host the Games were quite grim. With a compressed time frame, what seemed like an impossible feat was in fact the CNMI’s opportunity to shine.
The NMPMG2022 raised the bar for all future sporting events in the NMI. The Games is a prime example of the gravity of events the CNMI can host. We were happy to show the world how we put on large events in our home. No matter the situation, we rose to the challenge and inevitably succeeded,” he said.
Peter also thanked Pacific Games Council president Vidya Lakhan for praising the Commonwealth’s hosting of the 11th edition of the Mini Games,
“We’re humbled by his praise… Honestly, I think he spoke about what he saw…he spoke about the results he saw instead of repeating excuses for why the Games didn’t happen and instead of reciting plans for what could’ve happened. His comments reflect his good character and the fact that he has given the only opinion one can give with this accomplishment. We’re very grateful to him for his kind remarks.”
The MGOC chair said it was no joke to host an event of the Mini Games’ magnitude with over 1,800 athletes, officials, dignitaries, international media, and others in attendance.
“All were very impressed at how well the Games were organized. The events were held seamlessly with no issues. In addition, for the first time in Pacific Mini Games history, the CNMI elevated its role as the host, providing hotel accommodations for the athletes, team officials, and technical officials participating in the Games,” he said.
It all comes from the leadership of Gov Ralph DLG Torres, as Peter said his marching orders upon his appointment as chairman of the MGOC was not to provide the bare minimum.
“We wanted to set the new bar for host nations to follow in providing the field of play, accommodations, transportation, and food. The organizing committee had a goal in mind for the amount we would need to raise and the type of Games we would like to host. I’m proud to say, the Games you saw, exceeded our targeted goals and our original plan resulting in a resounding success.”
Lastly, Peter said the MGOC couldn’t have hosted the Games without the generous support from the local business community and of course Torres’ commitment.
“The assistance of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres was crucial to the Games happening without a hitch. His leadership along with the full support of his administration helped the organizing committee to achieve its goals and overcome its obstacles.”
MGOC CEO Vicente “Ben” Babauta, for his part, said the way they successfully hosted the Games has already resulted in a few countries in the Pacific calling them for advice.
“Already Tahiti reached out some information. Just sharing best practices throughout the Pacific. At the end of the day, it’s about the athletes and delivering a high-level edition of the Games in the Pacific. It’s quite exciting to meet a lot of people in facilitating the Games.”
For him, the most exciting part of the Games’ 10 days was they were able to award over 700 medals to deserving athletes without a problem, which is a testament of how the Games was successfully delivered.
Babauta was also proud how for the first time ever athletes in the region stayed in air-conditioned hotel rooms during this year’s Mini Games.
“Honestly, I think we made sure the athletes didn’t stress out about the accommodations. They didn’t have to worry about bunking anymore 15 per room or queueing in for the bathroom.”
He added the CNMI also got points for its spectacular opening ceremony.
“The other icing in the cake is the opening ceremony. They were blown away by the opening ceremony. That set the stage for the Mini Games. It’s the first time the opening of the Mini Games had a drone show.”