RADIO NZ – 12 October 2020
The 2021 Pacific Mini Games have been confirmed to take place in the Northern Marianas in June 2022.
Saipan will host the games then after a CNMI request to postpone the event until 2022 was accepted by Pacific Games Council.
The CNMI was originally supposed to hold the Mini Games in June 2021, but the Games Council requested the host nation reschedule so as not to clash with the Tokyo Olympics, which had been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The council suggested a date of December 2021 however the CNMI requested a June 2022 date which has now been approved by the 22 member-nation council.
CNMI Governor Ralph Torres said he looked forward to moving past the Covid-19 pandemic and preparing to host the Mini Games.
Torres said his administration was committed to ensuring the event will be held successfully for the first time in the CNMI.
He expressed hope the competition would help local athletes improve their performance.
The Mini Games was expected to bring nearly 2,000 athletes, officials, and guests to Saipan.
Athletics, baseball, badminton, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon have been initially proposed for the Games with weightlifting and tennis being discussed as possible additions.
The Oleai Sports Complex will be the main venue for the Pacific Mini Games Photo: RNZ Pacific / Mark Rabago
In a statement, the Pacific Games Council said their initial recommendation of a December date was not feasible because the schools and associated infrastructure required to accommodate, feed and transport the athletes, would still be required for education purposes at that time.
This is because the CNMI education calendar is aligned to the US.
Council President Vidhya Lakhan said he wished to personally thank Governor Torres for his continued support for the CNMI 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”.
The CNMI has had at least 77 cases of the coronavirus and suffered economically both from the border closures associated with the pandemic and from the recovery efforts related to the Super Typhoon Yutu which hit in 2018.