Micronesia Games back on track

The 10th Micronesia Games will be held in Majuro in the Marshall Islands from 15-24 June.

After initially being scheduled for 25 July to 5 August 2022, the competition was originally delayed by a year because of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, including the finishing off of the construction of the new Marshall Islands Stadium.

The event was to have been held in July 2023 but was moved to this year, allowing time for the completion of Games’ facilities.

The Micronesian Games Council had decided at a special virtual meeting on 2 May 2023 to move the event to June this year.

The Council announced then it was delaying the 10th edition of the games due to the unreadiness of the host islands’ sports facilities.

“The Micronesian Games is an event like no other,” Marshall Islands Minister of Education, Sports & Training, Wilbur Heine, said in a letter to Micronesian Games Council president Aurelio Joab.

“Its organisation and participation by the ten countries, states, and territories of Micronesia reflects the true spirit of our culture and identity and acknowledges the opportunities that sport brings to the youth of our countries.

Heine said the Marshall Islands was looking forward to welcoming their Micronesian family and friends.

Between 1500 and 2000 athletes, coaches and officials are expected for the games from Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam and Northern Mariana Islands.

This is the first Micronesian Games to be hosted by the Marshall Islands since the games were initiated in 1969.

Palau was the winner of the last edition of the Games held in 2018.

Team NMI's Theodore Rodgers, Tania Tan, Casey Cruz and Zarinae Sapong pose for a photo at the Oceania Athletics Championships 2024 in Suva, Fiji. Photo: Oceania Athletics

Team Northern Marianas focus on eight sports

Team Northern Mariana Islands (MNI) will have 115 athletes and officials participating at the Games.

The Saipan Tribune reported Marianas will compete in eight sports; athletics, basketball, beach volleyball, fast-pitch softball, swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling.

Chef de mission Valerie Hofschneider said the Northern Marianas Sports Association submitted the names of 90 athletes and 25 officials for accreditation.

She said Team NMI athletes have been preparing for their respective competitions for months.

“And we have full confidence in their ability to put on a strong performance against our brothers and sisters in Micronesia.”

The MNI delegation will be led by familiar names that have either competed at the 2018 Micronesian Games in Yap or represented the NMI in the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

This includes swimmer Isaiah Aleksenko, athletes Tania Tan and Zarinae Sapong and lifter Labausa Aleksenko of weightlifting.

Aleksenko won four medals (one gold and three bronzes) at the 2023 Pacific Games, while Tan had a pair of gold medals (5,000m and 10,000m) in the same competition.

Sapong notched four medals (gold, silver, and two bronzes) in the 2018 Micro Games, while Labausa brought home three gold medals in the weightlifting competition.

Weightlifters will kick off the competition on June 16 and 17, while Team Marianas’ beach volleyball entries will be the first to see action in the Micro Games as the tournament will be held from June 15 to 18.

Athletics will run from June 19 to 24; basketball (5×5) and fast pitch will be from June 17 to 24; tennis is slated from June 20 to 23; and wrestling will take place on June 23 and 24. All these competition will be held in Majuro, while swimming races are scheduled in Kwajalein from June 17 to 21.

Meanwhile, Hofschneider said Team Marianas was able to assemble more than 100 delegates for this year’s Micronesian Games because of the strong support it received from the business community and NMI residents.

She said they were grateful for all the support they have received.

“On behalf of the NMSA, we would like to acknowledge the commitment of the athletes and officials and their respective national federations for the Micro Games and as well as the generous support of Team Marianas sponsors and our local community that participated in the fundraising efforts for our delegation,” Hofschneider said.

“We are all in this together, sharing the responsibility to be able to participate in the 2024 Micronesian Games, represent the NMI well, and bring honor to our beloved islands,” she added.

Athletes impress in Suva

Team Marianas four athletes at last week’s Oceania Athletics Championships in Suva did well in their events and impressed team officials.

The Marianas Variety reported that Theodore Rodgers ran in heat 3 of the Senior Men’s 100 metres and placed six out of seven runners with a time of 11.80 seconds.

Only the top four finishers qualified for the next round.

Casey Cruz and Zarinae Sapong also performed well in the Senior Women’s 100m event.

In heat 2, Cruz finished fourth with a time of 13.42s.

Sapong placed fourth in heat 3 with a time of 13.09s.

Long-distance runner, Tania Tan, placed fifth overall in the Senior Women’s 1500m finals with a time of 5:04.28s.

The top four were New Zealand’s Laura Nagel (4:22.10s), Rebekah Greene (4:24.40s), Boh Ritchie (4:25.69s) and Papua New Guinea’s Scholastica Herman (4:46.94s).

Casey Cruz said she has mixed feelings about her performance in Fiji.

“I felt happy and grateful, but also sad,” she told the Mariana Variety.

“Due to a recent ankle injury, I wasn’t able to train much when I arrived in Fiji, which impacted my performance. However, I try not to dwell on it and instead remind myself that recovering from an injury is an achievement in itself.”

All four NMI athletes will get another chance at the Micronesian Games.

Palau athletes at the Oceania Athletics Championships in Suva. Photo: Oceania Athletics

Team Palau optimistic

Team Palau are excited about their chances at the upcoming Games.

Their athletes will participate in Athletics (men and women), Basketball 5×5 Men only, Basketball 3on3 Men Team only, Volleyball and Beach Volleyball, Swimming, wrestling, weightlifting, tennis men team only, table tennis, spearfishing and micro all around (men team only) and women’s softball.

The Island Times reported the team is ready for the games, and the mandate for the Team at the Micronesian Games is gold medal and top three rank for the Team.

The Team Palau has around 165 members, which includes athletes and officials.

Meanwhile, the performance of Kraven Ngirchomlei and Peace Adaba at the the 2024 Oceania Athletics Championships in Suva augurs well for Team Palau.

The duo impressed in their first impressed in their first under-18 1,500m races.

Ngirchomlei clipped 10 seconds off his personal best, clocking an impressive 4:38.53s.

Adaba also put in a strong showing, improving her time to 4:44.69s.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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