Micro Games on our minds

An architectural rendition of the track and field and softball field that is to be constructed on top of the landfilled ocean side of Jenrok as one of the main sites for Micronesian Games competition.

EVE BURNS
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were pushed back by a year and the 2021 Pacific Mini-Games in Saipan are considering rescheduling due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

While there are concerns regarding the Micronesian Games scheduled for Majuro in 2020, the RMI still has two years before these are scheduled to open. Officials with the RMI government, Majuro Atoll Local Government and Marshall Islands National Olympics Committee (MINOC) are optimistic the games can continue as scheduled, although they will need to keep close tabs on the pandemic.

The Micronesian Games is a multi-sport event within that is played every four years. The games were first held in 1969 in Saipan. The Marshall Islands will be hosting the tenth edition of the regional competition.

“This dream is becoming reality for the many who have worked to bring the Micro Games to RMI,” said Marshall Islands National Olympics Committee Secretary General Terry Sasser.

With full support of the government administration, Pacific International Incorporated (PII) has moved forward with development of some of the essential new sports facilities. PII Manager Bobby Muller stated that a 10-acre area on the oceanside of Jenrok is in its final phase of reclamation to be completed in a few months. Once the landfill is complete, new sports facilities will be built on it. A track and field and softball facility are scheduled to be completed for use in mid- to late-2021.

The Educational Cultural Center (ECC) gym is to go through a two-phase US-funded renovation. It will be the competition venue for basketball during the Micronesian Games. Phase one has started an order last month of replacement roof trusses and roofing materials, which are to be shipped from New Zealand.

The new NCD tennis court is located between the International Conference Center (ICC) and the hospital received new lighting and windscreens. In addition, the USP tennis courts are being renovated now through the donation from the ROC Taiwan government and True Value Hardware. Both will be used as venues for tennis competition.

The downstairs meeting rooms at the ICC will be used to host the table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling competitions and will receive temporary flooring in advance of the games.

Marshall Islands High School gym renovation is scheduled to begin in August. It will be the competition venue for indoor volleyball. Beach volleyball will be hosted at Laura Beach.

MINOC is looking at two options for swimming: Plan A is to host the events on Kwajalein Atoll, which has an existing pool that meet competition requirements. If it is not possible to gain Army approval for this plan, Plan B is to build a floating dock swimming facility at the end of the airport runway by the picnic area.

If the Kwajalein swimming pool is authorized for Micro Games competition, the floating dock pool will be used as practice venue and to support development of a swim program to be enjoyed by the local folks as a legacy of the games. Under consideration for the games village is Marshall Islands High School and College of the Marshall Islands.

“We are moving forward with the construction of the new track and field and softball facilities and have just started renovation of the Educational Cultural Center (ECC). The contractor has given us assurances that these facilities are on schedule and will be completed by the targeted dates of summer and fall of 2021,” said Minister of Education, Sport and Training Kitlang Kabua.

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