Micronesian Games delayed due to issues with facilities

The Micronesian Games Council said it's delaying the 10th Micronesian Games in Majuro, Marshall Islands due to the unreadiness of the host islands' sports facilities.

It's the second time the Games have had to be postponed with the event due to take place in July-August 2022 pulled due to ongoing uncertainty about covid-19 and restricted travel in the region.

In a letter to member island nations of the council, secretary general Joey Miranda said that after recommendations from the Marshall Islands government and other stakeholders involved, they concluded that the quadrennial event can't be delivered on the July 2023 date.

"The president and his Cabinet have stated at this time with recommendations from the Ministry of Education and Sport and based heavily on the challenges to construction due to the covid-19 pandemic over the past two-and-a-half years and recommendations from Public Works assessment of facility readiness for the July dates, that there will be a delay of the Games.

"We will be seeking to reschedule the Games here in Majuro to a later date," he said.

Miranda added that the postponement of the 2023 Micronesian Games is the best move at this time.

"The safety of our athletes and attendees are major considerations in processing the viability of the continuance of the Games. For us to mitigate the formalities and avoid costs that all MGAs (Micronesian Games Associations) will be burdened upon in preparation for the Games, it is with regret that we announce the delay of the Micronesian Games scheduled for July 2023."

He said the Micronesian Games Executive Council will host a virtual meeting in the coming months to provide detailed information to members and work on the next steps the Micronesian Games Council will need to take for future events.

RNZ Pacific correspondent in the Marshall Islands, Giff Johnson, said the Games may now be held in April 2024.

"The facilities that they are building should be world class - the track field is an international standard, so I think they definitely want to do it but they feel they just need more time to put it on properly.

"So I think there is definitely a commitment to do it. I mean the government has put a lot of money into the sport facilities."

The Pacific Games are being held in Solomon Islands in November-December this year.

The first Micronesian Games were held in the Northern Mariana Islands in 1969 and have been held in the Commonwealth three times, the Federated States of Micronesia three times, Palau twice, and Guam once. The 2023 Games will be the first time they are being held in the Marshall Islands.

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


Photo credit: Mark Rabago  Caption: A Nauru flagbearer