Sports at a standstill


From a busy season into no competition, indefinitely.

Announcements on the suspension of sports tournaments and activities on island were made one after another in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has already hit neighboring Guam.

Tagaman Triathlon was first on the list of postponed events, as Triathlon Association of the CNMI president Ricky Castro made the announcement a few hours after Guam confirmed it has three COVID-19 cases late afternoon last Sunday. Tagaman was originally slated for this Saturday and the new schedule has yet to be discussed.

Also set for this weekend is the playoff round of the 2019-2020 Public School System Interscholastic Boys Middle School Volleyball League, but the competition is halted, as all activities under the PSS Athletics Program have been canceled until further notice.

“In an effort to mitigate the dangers associated with the COVID-19, all PSS Athletic Programs are canceled until further notice,” program director Nick Gross said.

Also called off was the meeting this week for the All Schools Track and Field Championship, which is scheduled to kick off its qualifying events later this month.

The 2020 Northern Marianas College Foundation Golf Tournament set for this Saturday at the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort was suspended, too.

“We want to ensure the health and safety of our community during this time, and part of that means preventing big gatherings and canceling large scale events,” NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico said. “We’d like to thank our golfers and sponsors for their understanding and continued support for the college.”

Meanwhile, Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, which oversees the 2020 NMIFA Spring Youth League, 2020 Dove Women’s Spring League, and 2020 Spring Men’s M-League, has suspended matches in all three competitions and other activities since last night.

“Due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association is suspending all leagues and other soccer related activities including the national team program training until further notice,” NMIFA said in a press statement.

The decision was made in compliance with the directives of the CNMI government and the local and federal agencies involved in the effort to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of the islands’ residents.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, last Sunday evening, ordered the closure of government offices and non-essential government functions until further notice, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to cancel or postpone events that draw crowds, including sports competitions, to contain the virus.

Besides the regular matches in the three various leagues, NMIFA is also suspending its soccer programs for schools (P.E. Support, Interscholastic Soccer League, and Junior Soccer Academy Training).

Other sports events/competitions that are suspended indefinitely are the JP Hero Run, One Pacific Promotional Basketball League 2020, and Bridge Capital Tennis Classic, while Saipan Swim Club’s practice sessions are also on hold.

Trench Tech Gym and Trench Tech Purebred Jiujitsu Academy are closed, too according to owner and founder Cuki Alvarez.

“We must be pro active and look out for the best interest and safety of our members, staff, and most especially our family. Preventative measures are your first line of defense,” Alvarez said.

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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