Northern Marianas to host 'lean and simple' Mini Games in 2021

The Northern Mariana Islands intends to host a "lean and simple" Pacific Mini Games in four years time, and say they could have everything ready to go on six weeks notice.

Saipan will host the 2021 Mini Games and President of the Northern Marianas Sports Association, Michael White, said all sporting facilities are already in place except for the toilet and shower blocks, which need federal funding.

He said this month's Mini Games in Vanuatu set a very high bar and were more upscale than what they have planned.

"We have all of our sporting facilities in place - we've organised international competition in virtually every sport that we're going to offer," he said.

"Our Games Village at Marianas High School has been used before to house athletes at international sporting events and other than toilet and shower facilities, which we're required to have, we could host international Games on very short notice."

Michael White said the 2021 Games will feature 12 sports, including some that will boost the medal prospects of the host.

"We're the best in the Pacific, we think, at baseball and that's certainly going to be our featured sport at the Pacific Games, it's going to be our only large team sport," he said.

"We're not going to be able to offer rugby or netball or soccer/football...the fact that we're not offering soccer was more dictated by the lack of available space to house athletes.

"If you add soccer to your Games roster and six teams show up, men and women, you're adding more than 200 people to the number of athletes that you have to house and feed and we just don't have the space to do that."

Michael White said all of the sporting venues in Sapian, except for golf and swimming, are located within walking distance of the athletes village.

He said they might use alternate gymnasiums for weightlifting and badminton but those are only a five minute drive away.


Photo: RNZ Pacific/Vinnie Wylie President of the Northern Marianas Sports Association, Michael White.