Public asked to refrain from using closed track oval

A heavy equipment operator works at the center field of the Oleai Sports Complex. Renovation and other improvements at the facility are expected to finish this month. (Jon Perez)

Northern Marianas Sports Association executive director Tony Rogolifoi is once again informing the community that the track oval at the Oleai Sports Complex remains closed for public use.

Rogolifoi made the appeal after finding out that some people are sneaking in to use the track oval, to the extent that they are climbing over the chain link fence.

“Technically, the track is still closed. We want to keep it that way until all repairs and improvements are done. We can’t assign somebody from our staff to stay there the whole day. That’s why, if any of us see someone on the track, we ask them politely to finish the lap and leave afterwards,”

He said that people should know better, especially if they see that the gates are closed.

“We know walking or running on the track is good for your knees and we can’t always monitor the facility, so please we are asking for everyone’s cooperation,” Rogolifoi appealed.

NMSA is looking to keep the track and field facility, which was resurfaced last year, intact in time for Saipan’s hosting of the 2018 Oceania Micronesia Regional Championships in June. Saipan is also hosting the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.

“We’re hurrying things up in time for the regional championships in athletics. We know that athletics wanted to use the track so they could train their athletes in preparation for the championships. We are also asking for their patience,” said Rogolifoi.

The NMSA official added that improvement work at the track’s center field is expected to be done this week or early next with the dirt that was sifted now being compacted.

“The grass will be planted. Once it grows and the color turns to green, we’re going to mow it and we could finally allow everyone to use it. We’re going to meet with all the federations to set up the schedule for the usage of the facility,” said Rogolifoi.

“We’re also going to set up guidelines in using the facility. Simple do’s and don’ts while inside the track since fixing it is not cheap. We’re going to put up a sign that has these guidelines in different languages so everyone in our community could understand it,” he added.

And since NMSA is a non-profit organization, Rogolifoi said they would impose fees for the use of any of the facilities inside the sports complex. The fees will be minimal and the money collected will be used for maintenance and operational costs.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez has been covering local and international sports events for more than 15 years. His sports writing career started when he joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, when he was in college.

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