Key sports facilities on Saipan suffered massive damage due to Super Typhoon Yutu that struck the island late Wednesday night to early Thursday morning.
The NMI Soccer Training Center, which was just inaugurated in July this year, sustained significant damage, while the Oleai Sports Complex was not also spared from the wrath of the Category 5 super typhoon.
The artificial turf of the secondary pitch/futsal pitch was totally peeled off; fence around the facility and the two pitches went down; goals were blown away and can’t be found; portions of the turf of main pitch was removed; the fence at the back of the bleachers folded up; and the two covered team shelter/portable dugouts were shattered. The official vehicle of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, which takes care of the training center, turned turtle, as it was blown away from the inside parking and over the broken fence along with another car from NMIFA staff. Storage rooms were also flooded.
“We were devastated, especially since the facility was just inaugurated a few months ago. Right now, our focus is to clean up the facility and then do an assessment of the damage. Definitely, as what our president, Jerry Tan, said, we will rebuild,” NMIFA general secretary Ross Zapanta said.
“We are also asking the community to return materials/equipment that were blown away during the super typhoon,” he added.
Meanwhile, both the Francisco “Tan Ko” Palacios and Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan ballfields were also hit by the super typhoon. Bleachers from both sides of the “Tan Ko” field crashed, while the fence around the complex and at the track oval were also damaged.
The Kan Pacific Swimming Pool, which has been closed for about a month, suffered minor damage. Portions of the tin roof of the bleachers and restroom were removed, while the water is getting murkier with stains also building up around the walls.