The Oleai Sports Complex track and field facility is pictured here as one of proposed venues for the 2017 Pacific Mini Games, which the CNMI is hoping to host. (CNMI Bid Committee Photo) 
“I have the honor and pleasure to transmit herewith the bid of the Northern Mariana Islands to host the 2017 Pacific Mini Games,” NMASA president Michael White said in his letter to Pacific Games Council Secretary General David Boyd.

“NMASA and the people of the Northern Mariana Island appreciate the Council's consideration of our bid, and look forward to the possibility of welcoming the sporting community of the Pacific in 2017,” White said.

The NMASA head had earlier announced at the Association's monthly meeting on Thursday night at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium that the bid documents were done and he is positive about the CNMI's chances to bring the quadrennial event here, six years from now.

“It is an impressive bid package and we are very hopeful we will have the winning bid,” White said.

Initially, the CNMI will be battling hosting rights for the 2017 Mini Games against Vanuatu, with the Commonwealth enjoying a couple of advantages against the latter as far as areas for consideration on the selection of the winning bid are concerned. Then Nauru came into the picture with NMASA receiving a copy of the surprise bid papers yesterday afternoon. NMASA also learned that Norfolk Island had submitted a bid to host the Mini Games.

The CNMI is proposing only $30 per diem against Vanuatu's and Nauru's $50. Norfolk Island proposed a very limited sporting program, and did not specify its proposed per diem charge.  Vanuatu (in 1993) and Norfolk (in 2001) have previously hosted the Mini Games, and NMASA believes the Council wishes to give each Pacific Games Association member-nation an opportunity to host the regional competition. The CNMI is also more accessible than the other bidding countries.

“I am confident we can get it done,” White told NMASA members during the meeting.

Under the CNMI's bid package, the Commonwealth is proposing 11 events: athletics, football (soccer), golf, swimming, lawn tennis, canoe racing (va'a), beach and indoor volleyball, baseball, sailing, and triathlon. Ten of the events are open for men's and women's teams, while baseball is only for men's squads.

The CNMI is proposing to have the Mini Games in the last two weeks of June. The Oleai Sports Complex in Susupe will be the main hub for the Games, while athletes and coaches would be billeted at the Marianas High School and Hopwood Junior High School. Saipan Southern High School will also be made available if an additional or alternate Athletes Village is needed. The nearby Saipan Grand Hotel will be the Mini Games official hotel, and will accommodate officials and dignitaries from participating countries.

The CNMI's bid has full backing from both the public and private sectors and the various sports federations in the Commonwealth.  The Games will attract visitors from across the Pacific, and are expected to pump as much as $12 million into the CNMI's economy.  White expressed thanks to Governor Fitial and the other members of the Bid Committee for their strong support for the CNMI's bid.

The winning bid for the 2017 Mini Games will be decided on Sept. 4 during the Pacific Games Council General Assembly in Noumea, New Caledonia.  Governor Fitial and other representatives of the Bid Committee will join White in the French territory for the presentation of the CNMI's bid.



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