NMASA gave its nod to the creation of a new group during the association's meeting last Thursday at conference room of the Gilbert C. Gymnasium. NMASA president Michael White designated Secretary-General Rose Igitol of baseball as the official responsible for convening athletes to form the commission and elect their own officers.
White said NMASA plans to call a meeting of all CNMI athletes and on the day of the forum, all present are allowed to run and vote for their own officials. The Athletes' Commission is required to have not less than five and no more than seven members, who must be at least 16 years old and have never been sanctioned for a doping offense. Both males and females must also be represented on the commission and the election must take place in December this year.

Ones the members are elected, the Athletes' Commission will designate one of its officers to be a part of the NMASA board of directors.

Many-time CNMI tennis coach and player Jeff Race welcomed the idea of having an athletes representative to the NMASA board. He said that athletes, especially the young ones, can help CNMI sports gain support from the government.

“Sometimes the government listens more to athletes than to the sports officials. If these young athletes go up there (Legislature), maybe then we could get the support we need,” said Race.

NMASA on several occasions had asked for financial aid from the government for the CNMI Team's participation to off-island events (Micronesian Games, Pacific Games, and Mini Games) and the group either got partial help or none at all. Right now, NMASA is hoping to get a share from the government's budget for fiscal year 2014.

Besides helping NMASA secures government funding, Igitol said getting input from athletes are also important.

“If we will be hosting some big tournaments or planning a program, we could get ideas from them. Also, these athletes are the future sports leaders in the CNMI, so it will be best for them to get involved in NMASA or in their own group so they can start training and preparing for more responsibilities,” Igitol added.

By Roselyn Monroyo
Reporter, Saipan Tribune 


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