Catholic Youth - on holiday - and running ?
This is the time of year on Tarawa when most of the schools (and thus the "Youth") are on vacation for the second time in this academic year. This short break gives the opportunity for the Catholic community to hold a series of sports competitions for their young people. It is likely to be followed by the Kiribati Protestant Church (KPC) holding a similar set of events. Since these two churches between them cover more than 90% of the population, these two competitions give a chance to compete to the vast majority of the Tarawa Youth.
It is to be hoped that, having had nearly seven weeks to recover from the tension and stress of the Kiribati Inter-Secondary School Championships (KISSAC), the school-age athletes will feel inclined to compete one more time.
As a result of adding to the KAA Performance Statistics, these athletes might then give themselves a chance of selection for the final international competition of the year. This is due to be the second staging of the annual "Tri-Rigger Championships" and the venue should be Nauru. The provisional dates are in early December.
TRAVEL PROBLEM !
When the Tri-Rigger competition was created in early 2007, there were regular flights from here to Nauru and to Marshall Islands, the other two countries in the TRI set-up. Unfortunately now there are not !!! The link to Marshall Islands was re-established as a fortnightly service on a Thursday. For as long as there are enough passengers, this is likely to continue. However, we are at the mercy of "Our Airline" (the re-incarnation of Air Nauru), and for the time-being they have ceased operations to Kiribati. Thus we cannot reach Nauru (the 2008 venue) except - expensively - via Australia ! Similarly, Marshall Islands athletes cannot reach Nauru either.
There is some talk of Our Airline resuming services to Kiribati in October. Maybe ! But that will not help Marshall Islands.
NOT THE FIRST TIME !
A similar thing happened in 2007 when the venue was Tarawa. Nauru managed to arrange a special deal with Air Nauru. But the team from Majuro could not get here. So it was only a BI-RIGGER arrangement ! It was good, and we won, but it missed the triangular point !
So, what should we do ? Just cancel ? Or maybe find a sponsor to raise the AUD 15,000 or AUD 20,000 so that we could take a small team to Nauru by charter flight ? If we try to go to Majuro instead, we would fill an Air Marshall flight, but where do we find the funds for the fare. And unless they put on a special flight for us to return, we would have to stay in Majuro for two weeks until the next scheduled flight back to Tarawa !
To have an international competition in Micronesia was an excellent idea, but the reality is subject to economic influences.
Would there be any point in doing it again here ? It would give our athletes another competition, but it would cost Marshall Islands the price of the return fare and it would probably cost us (as hosts) something for the RMI team's accommodation and food for up to two weeks, until they could fly home again. From where do we get the funds ?