Torres: Better facilities for ‘21 Mini Games


The Oleai track oval’s new rubber surface is waiting for the International Association of Athletics Federations certification after the project was completed early this year. The track is among the sports facilities that Gov. Ralph DLG Torres wants to improve as Saipan prepares to host the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. (Jon Perez)

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is looking to put more funding into Saipan’s sports facilities, especially now that the CNMI is busy preparing for its hosting of the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.

Torres said he would continue to discuss the funding issue with some administration officials and the CNMI’s sports leaders that include the Northern Marianas Sports Association, which now oversees the maintenance and operations of the Oleai Sports Complex.

“We have a new track, which was better from the old one. We do have the infrastructure, but I would like to see better facilities here. I’m going to look at other priorities as we prepare to host the [Mini] Games in 2021,” said Torres.

The resurfacing of the track oval of the Oleai Sports Complex was just completed early this year with the funds for the project coming from the Community Development Block Grant from the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. The Oleai track hosted the Micronesian Athletics Championship in 2005 and the Oceania Athletics Championship in 2008. Saipan will again host the MAC next year. The sports complex was also the main hub of the 6th Micronesian Games held in 2006. The other facilities at the sports complex—the Miguel Basa Pangelinan softball field and the Gilbert C. Ada gymnasium—were damaged during Typhoon Soudelor in 2015 and will be undergoing renovations, too.

Meanwhile, Torres said he would attend the closing ceremonies of the 10th Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, Vanuatu on Dec. 15.

“[Press secretary] Kevin [Bautista] and I are working on it and we do have a reservation for me to attend. I actually look forward to receiving the [Mini] Games’ flag,” said Torres, who was still a senator when the Commonwealth earned the rights to host the quadrennial sporting event.

“We won the bid and we’re ready to host the [Mini] Games here. We are planning to go and attend the closing ceremonies with other [sports] officials,” he added.

The CNMI will be participating in athletics, rugby 7s, weightlifting, 3×3 basketball, and golf events in this year’s Mini Games.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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