Members of the CNMI National Athletics Team will have their work cut out for them with the region’s titans of track and field competing in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022.
CNMI will be hoping to provide some much needed competition to the traditional Pacific Games powerhouses Papua New Guinea and Fiji who have dominated the in past years.
Ahead of the Games, National Coach Dr Ron Snyder said, “I think the team will do well. They have been training hard and have grown tremendously. We are a young team and our training has been greatly hampered with the loss of the track but we are ready to rise up to the challenge. I am hoping for some medals and many personal bests.”
The Oleai track and field underwent resurfacing for a couple of months leaving the athletics team to look for alternative venues to train.
Competition will be stiff, as Papua New Guinea track stars George Yamak and Aquila Turalom will try to maintain their dominance in the long-distance running aspects of track and field events.
“We have a good mix of young and experience athletes, so it’s a complete team. Everyone has been committed to training. Their focus and attitude are right, so I am confident that we will compete well,” said PNG’s long distance coach Philip Kamane.
Meanwhile CNMI’s tennis head coach, Jeff Race is confident about his team: “We’ll be the number one seed on the men’s side. I think everyone will be gunning for us but we have a team that can handle that pressure. Our goal is to win a couple of gold from the men’s side for the NMI. We’ll give it our best shot in the process.”
CNMI’s reigning 2021 Athletes of the Year, Jason Tarkong and Zarinae Sapong, will be flagbearers in the opening ceremony of the Pacific Mini Games which begin today at the Oleai Sports Complex.