Sapong reelected president; Dela Cruz, Tebuteb receive awards

Posted on May 25 2023

From left to right, World Athletics president Lord Sebastian Coe, Oceania Athletics president Robin Sapong, and Northern Marianas Athletics president Ramon Tebuteb at the Oceania Athletics Association Congress in Nadi, Fiji last May 17. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Northern Marianas Athletics general secretary Robin Sapong was re-elected Oceania Athletics president during the Oceania Athletics Association Congress in Nadi, Fiji last May 17.

Also in the same event, NMA president Ramon Tebuteb was presented with the Merit Award and Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr. was presented the Male Technical Official Award.

Sapong told the media via email, “I would like to take this moment to express my deepest gratitude and acknowledge the immense blessings and guidance bestowed upon me. First and foremost, I extend my heartfelt thanks to God for the strength, wisdom, and opportunities that have led me to be re-elected as the Oceania Athletics president. It is through His grace that I have been able to serve the athletics community and contribute to the growth and development of the sport in our region. I am humbled by this re-election and remain committed to carrying out my duties with integrity, fairness, and dedication, keeping in mind the values instilled in me by my faith.”

Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr. was awarded the Male Official Technical Award during the Oceania Athletics Association Congress in Nadi, Fiji last May 17.(CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

He also extended his sincere appreciation to his loving family for their unwavering support and understanding throughout this journey.

“Their encouragement and belief in me have been the driving force behind my achievements. Their constant presence and unconditional love have provided me with the strength and motivation to overcome challenges and pursue my passion for athletics administration. I am truly blessed to have such an incredible family, and I dedicate this re-election to them, as they have been my pillar of strength.”

He also expressed his gratitude to federation members who have entrusted him with this responsibility once again. “It is an honor to have their support and confidence in my leadership abilities. I am committed to working tirelessly to advance the interests of athletics in Oceania, promote inclusivity, and create opportunities for athletes to excel on the international stage. I value the collective effort of the federation members and look forward to collaborating with them to achieve our shared goals and aspirations. Together, we will strive to elevate the standards of athletics in Oceania and foster a vibrant and thriving sports community.”

He then thanked NMA for nominating him as the Oceania Athletics president.

“Being nominated by such a prestigious organization is a true honor.” He also thanked [World Athletics] president Lord Sebastian Coa for his support and encouragement throughout his journey as the Oceania Athletics president and the Oceania Athletics staff for their hard work, professionalism, and commitment to excellence. 

Sapong was first elected OAA president last 2019.

For Dela Cruz, he said, “I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know I was in the running at all. There are a ton of amazing technical officials that run track and field events. The ones that came to run the Mini Games track meet were extraordinary men and women that I hoped to perform at the level they do one day. I thought they were way more deserving. I don’t hold a candle to them.” 

As for how he felt, he said “I was shocked. I didn’t think I was good enough yet for our state compared to the legends here let alone the entire Oceania. I have nothing but gratitude to president Robin, executive director Yvonne Mullins, and the rest of the Oceania team for believing I deserved it. I’m still in shock.”

He then thanked his wife and son “for supporting me and letting me continue to do what I do. I thank Robin and Dr. Ron [Snyder] for their friendship and mentorship in this sport and support. A large thank you to my team at Northern Marianas Athletics and Run Saipan. Special big thank you to my employers at Commonwealth Ports Authority, especially captain Vince Camacho, assistant chief Phillip Aldan, assistant chief Jerome Reyes, and chief Frederick Pangelinan for supporting what I do with the track and field and running community. If they were not as supportive I don’t think I’d be able to put as much time and effort into this sport if I was in a regular 8am-5pm job like the central government. Having a very supportive employer makes a tremendous difference in my ability to perform for our community.”

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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