Veterans Beo Ngirchongor and Zarinae Sapong and youngster Jamie Pangelinan will be leading the CNMI’s campaign in the athletics competition in the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu this December.
Northern Marianas Athletics official Elias Rangamar told Saipan Tribune that Northern Marianas Athletics could only send runners in the Mini Games as those selected for the field events are not able to practice due to the closure of the Oleai Sports Complex’s track and field facility. The track oval underwent resurfacing and has yet to be opened to the public as it still awaits its Level II certification from the International Association of Athletics Federations.
“We could not practice for the field events. We don’t have the venue to train. We’re only sending our sprinters since they are the ones who manage to train,” said Rangamar. “We can’t just train for the field events anywhere. We might hit something or damage the ground once we use the discus or javelin. Even our high jump and long jump have no venue.”
“Jamie [Pangelinan] is one of the newest members of the CNMI track team. She’s still young and is dedicated to training. She comes every day to train along with Beo and Zari,” added Rangamar.
Ngirchongor and Sapong have represented the CNMI in various regional and international athletics events like the Micronesian Games, Pacific Games, and those organized by IAAF.
Ngirchongor won the men’s 400-meter run and 400m hurdles gold medals in the 2014 Micro Games in Pohnpei, while Sapong’s recent tournament was the IAAF World Championships in London this year where she established a new personal best time in the 100m dash.
She ran on Heat 6 at the London Olympic Stadium and posted 13.29 seconds to shave off 0.06 milliseconds from her gold-medal winning performance of 13.35 seconds in the 2016 Micronesian Athletics Championships in Pohnpei.
Sapong is also the reigning 200m run champion in Micronesia after posting a MAC record of 27.87 seconds. She was part of the CNMI women’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams that won the bronze medals in the MAC.