‘Push back 2021 Mini Games’


The CNMI’s Traven Quitugua, center, competes in the 100m run in last year’s Oceania Athletics Championships in Australia. Runners across the Pacific are supposed to come to Saipan, as athletics is included in the sports to be played in the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. (Oceania Athletics Association)

The Pacific Games Council has requested the CNMI to consider changing the dates for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.

The request, according to PGC chief executive officer Andrew Minogue, was made last week after the International Olympic Committee announced the new dates for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. The Tokyo Olympics 2020, which is originally set to kick off this July but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now take place from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021.

When the new schedule of the Tokyo Olympics was decided, it is expected that several major sporting events will be affected by the revised dates. These include the 2021 Pacific Mini Games, which is slated for June. Majority of the participating countries in the Pacific Mini Games will also send delegates to the Olympic Games, so conflict of schedule is likely to happen.

“Our member-countries, the majority of them are Olympic Committees who are responsible for taking delegations of athletes not only to Saipan but also to Tokyo,” Minogue was quoted as saying in a report from Radio New Zealand last Monday. “That’s a particular challenge so we’ve advised our friends up in the Northern Marianas to start looking at some alternative dates that they may wish to hold the Games.”

Minogue, in an email to Saipan Tribune last Tuesday, also said there is no any pressure on the NMI to decide immediately on the new dates.

“We know they have to liaise with the governor, the schools, and other stakeholders. PGC will patiently await the setting of new dates, if indeed the dates need to be changed,” said Minogue, as he acknowledged that everybody’s priority now is how to combat the pandemic and use the government’s resources to assist the affected members of the community.

The PGC official finds moving the Mini Games to late 2021 or early 2022 beneficial to the host island, as it will give the CNMI more time to prepare and recover from the crisis.

An oversight committee is in charge of the Commonwealth’s preparation for the hosting of the 2021 Mini Games and its members and officials are expected to discuss the PGC’s request.

The quadrennial event will feature six sports—athletics, badminton, baseball, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon—and will be hosted by the CNMI for the first time.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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