1 Oct 2020

Pacific Mini Games set to lock in new dates

11:47 am on 1 October 2020

The Pacific Games Council has asked members to vote on a proposal to move the Mini Games in the Northern Marianas to June 2022.

The multi-sport event was originally scheduled to be held in Saipan in the middle of next year but has been delayed because of Covid-19, which has shut down borders and crippled the CNMI economy which is reliant on tourism.

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Photo: RNZ Pacific / Mark Rabago

The Tokyo Olympics have already been pushed back until July next year while late 2021 has also been ruled out because local schools will not be available to to accommodate the athletes.

Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue said they were trying to find a solution amongst a very crowded calendar.

"We've got things like the world athletics championships that have moved from 2021 to 2022. We've got the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the UK. We've got the Micronesian Games. There's just a lot of events that are happening so we're looking at some dates that steer clear of all of those."

Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue.

Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue. Photo: Vinnie Wylie/RNZ Pacific

Despite the ongoing global uncertainly, Minogue said the CNMI government remained committed to hosting the Mini Games.

"We as a movement I think feel quite obligated to help them as best as we can to accommodate them, given they've been through a lot with Covid and the typhoon in late 2018. It's a real chance an opportunity to show our support for them as well."

"I think, like all the Games around the world from Olympics down, these events are being portrayed now as a real sign of getting over Covid and moving on with our lives," he said.

"They still want to host the Games. 2023 of course we've got our main Games in Solomon Islands so the Mini Games do have to happen before 2023, so it's really in that first half of 2022 that's our window now."

The Pacific Games Council are currently canvassing opinions with their member countries and hope to lock-in a new permanent date for the Mini Games by the middle of this month.

"They respond by letter or email, or however they want to document it, and once we get a majority in support of moving the Games to that period we will go ahead and confirm it so hopefully that will happen in the next couple of weeks."