Northern Marianas Sports Association executive director Carlene Sablan said plans are afoot to finally begin the needed repairs to the Oleai Sports Complex in time for the CNMI’s hosting of the 2022 Pacific Mini Games.
The Oleai Sports Complex houses the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium, the Oleai Track and Field, the Francisco M. Palacios Baseball Field, and the Miguel Basa “Tan Ge” Pangelinan Softball Field.
“The Oleai Sports Complex will be the hub for most sporting events. We have been meeting with governor’s authorized representative, Patrick Guerrero, and the Public Assistance Office just about weekly now to move forward with the needed repairs to our facilities,” Sablan told Saipan Tribune.
The NMSA executive director also said the CNMI getting the nod in hosting three additional sports in the quadrennial event is a boon to the respective sports federations.
“NMSA is extremely pleased with the Pacific Games Council’s decision to include tennis, weightlifting, and va’a to the 2022 Pacific Mini Games event program… We, of course, also would like to thank Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for his support of the Mini Games…We also look forward to the work ahead, bringing everyone together in our community and doing everything possible to deliver the Mini Games successfully,” she said.
Northern Marianas National Paddle Sports Federation president Justin Andrew said as they prepare to host the outrigger canoe competition of the Mini Games next year, he anticipates that funding will be needed for the acquisition of equipment that will make up the bulk of the cost.
“In terms of workload, the federation recognizes the monumental work and expects to work on all throttles firing…it will seek guidance and technical expertise from its national federation and it will collaborate closely with local and regional partners. The federation will closely collaborate and coordinate with the [Pacific Mini Games 2022 Organizing Committee] and NMSA on all its plans for a successful hosting,” he told Saipan Tribune.
As for qualifying events to choose the paddlers that will be included in the CNMI National Outrigger Team, Andrew said they are planning a series of competitions to determine its composition.
“Qualifying event programs are being drawn up now and will go into motion in the next few months…It will be one of our busiest years ever. We want to have our national teams before the end of this year and start training ASAP. We are continuously mindful of our economic hardship but fundraising plans will soon be put together and work will start soon,” he said.
The 2022 Pacific Mini Games was originally slated for 2021 before it was postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will run from June 17 to 25 next year. Aside from tennis, weightlifting, and va’a, the sports calendar for the 2022 Mini Games also includes athletics, baseball, beach volleyball, golf, triathlon, and badminton.