CNMI to Send 173 to Micro Games


Participants in the Northern Marianas Weightlifting Association’s tryout for the 2014 Micronesian Games pose for a photo after the qualifier at the Marianas Strength Gym in Garapan early this month. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO) A bigger CNMI delegation is heading to Pohnpei this year to compete in the 2014 Micronesian Games.

Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael White, in an email to Saipan Tribune last Tuesday, said the Commonwealth will have 173 delegates to this year’s Micro Games, 40-plus athletes/officials more than the CNMI sent to Palau during the 2010 edition of the quadrennial event.

The CNMI has entries in basketball, weightlifting, swimming, lawn tennis, athletics, baseball, spearfishing, canoe racing, and indoor volleyball. These sports federations beat last Friday’s deadline for submission of entries (by numbers) to the 2014 Micro Games, which will run from July 19 to 29. White then turned over the list by entries to the organizing committee in Pohnpei last Monday.

On the list, Northern Marianas Athletics has the most delegates with 30, while Basketball Association of Northern Mariana Islands indicated it will be sending 14 male and 14 female delegates (12 players each from the men’s and women’s teams and coaches) to the Games. Swimming will have 12 male and seven female swimmers, tennis has nine (five male and four female), baseball has 24, spearfishing has four, and canoe has 22 (11 each from the men’s and women’s teams).

All these federations competed in the Micro Games in Palau and will be joined by weightlifting and volleyball, which missed the previous competition. Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association is sending both women’s and men’s teams in the indoor tournament and has a total of 28 delegates. NMIVA was scheduled to have a meeting last night to talk to interested players and coaches.

Northern Marianas Weightlifting Association, on the other hand, has started its series of tryouts to determine the seven individuals that will represent the group to the Micro Games for the first time in more than a decade.

Joseph Jucutan, NMWA’s secretary general, said they held a try out early this month and the Marianas Strength Gym in Garapan and invited members of Get Fit CNMI to join the qualifier. He added that the group will also hold a national championship to select the athletes that will earn slots on the team.

Other federations have also started their qualifiers and more are expected to follow soon. BANMI has began its trials and now has a pool of players to choose from, while the canoe group are conducting trials every Monday and Wednesday from 5pm to 6:30pm and Saturdays from 8am to 9:30pm at Kilili Beach and qualifiers will run only until Feb. 1.

“Tryouts are supervised by head coaches Justin Andrews and Dana Okano using methods agreed upon by NMNPSF. Objective criteria will be used to the extent possible. Ultimate selection will be based on athletic performance versus other candidates in timed events, strength events, and endurance events. Other criteria will include experience, leadership, attitude and attendance,” Northern Marianas National Paddle Sport Federation official Richard Sikkel said in an email to Saipan Tribune.

Canoe is hoping to bounce back from its lackluster performance in Palau, while the entire CNMI Team faces a tough task to match if not surpass the 2010 delegates’ 92-medal haul.

The CNMI finished second to Palau in the medal standings in the 2010 Micro Games after collecting 44 gold, 23 silver, and 25 bronze medals. The 44 gold medals were the most the Commonwealth won so far in the Games since its inception in 1968.

The Rezne Wong-led swimming team gave the CNMI the most medals (35) with 23 of them gold medals, seven silvers, and five bronzes. Athletics contributed 13 gold medals, five silvers, and seven bronzes, while tennis added three gold medals, four silvers, and four bronzes. Table tennis chipped in three gold medals, two silvers, and one bronze, while triathlon also had three gold medals and one silver, and baseball and women’s basketball won silver medals.


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