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The CNMI government and Northern Marianas Sports Association’s request to move the Pacific Mini Games 2022 has been granted.
In a press statement, Pacific Games Council chief executive officer Andrew Minogue said that the PGC and the 22 member-nations of the Pacific Games Association have agreed to the host’s proposal to have the quadrennial event in 2022 instead of next year due to the uncertainties brought by the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. The CNMI, through NMSA, has proposed to hold the Mini Games from June 17 to 25.
Originally, the Commonwealth scheduled the regional competition for June 2021, but the PGC asked the host island to consider a new date, possibly December 2021 after the Olympic Games in Tokyo was moved to next year due to the pandemic. Discussions were made to come up with the best possible dates and after looking into the school schedule (schools will be used as Athletes Village), accommodation, transportation, and other resources needed to hold the Games, the CNMI government and NMSA have arrived with the new calendar.
PGC president Vidhya Lakhan is pleased with the recent development, as the CNMI and their leaders honored their earlier commitment to the Mini Games.
“I wish to personally thank Gov. Ralph DLG Torres for his continued support for the CNMI in hosting their first-ever Pacific Mini Games in 2022, despite the economic and health challenges posed by the pandemic. The member Pacific Games Associations stand ready to support these Games in 2022 and we all wish the CNMI the best of luck as it deals with the challenges we are all facing at this time,” Lakhan said.
Press secretary Kevin Bautista, on the other, said the Commonwealth acknowledged PGC for giving the islands time and consideration to work on the new schedule for the Mini Games.
“We are grateful for the partnership and consideration displayed by the Pacific Games Council and its president Vidhya Lakhan and CEO Andrew Minogue to defer the Mini Games to 2022. COVID-19 has shifted sports schedules around the world, so understandably, the Mini Games are going to be pushed back as well. Gov. Torres and Lt. Gov. Palacios have committed themselves to ensure the Mini Games are held here for the benefit of our local athletes and to invite the Pacific back to Saipan with our island hospitality for a week of camaraderie and achievement. We look forward to moving past this pandemic and continuing preparations to host the 2022 Mini Games,” Bautista said.
NMSA, meanwhile, will continue to coordinate with PGC, the government, and various groups involved in the preparations for the CNMI’s hosting of the Mini Games, according to executive director Carline Sablan. She added that the new schedule will give them more latitude to work on the Games’ necessities, particularly the improvement of the facilities that were damaged by two super typhoons.
The 2022 Pacific Mini Games, which will have the Oleai Sports Complex as its main headquarters, is expected to bring nearly 2,000 athletes, officials, and guests to Saipan. Six sports (athletics, baseball, badminton, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon) have been initially proposed for the Mini Games, but there might be discussions on adding a few more events for the regional competition..
SOURCE: SAIPAN TRIBUNE/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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