The Pacific Mini Games could now take place in the Northern Mariana Islands in June 2022 ©Wikipedia

A new date of June in 2022 has been proposed for the Pacific Mini Games in the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) following the decision to move it due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was originally scheduled to be held in the capital Saipan in June 2021 but with the Olympic Games in Tokyo postponed by a year because of coronavirus the CNMI were asked to find alternative dates.

Pacific Games Council (PGC) President Vidhya Lakhan had revealed earlier this year that he hoped a date in December 2021 could be found.

But now members of the PGC are to be asked to approve a new date of June in 2022, it has been reported.

"We've got things like the World Athletics Championships that have moved from 2021 to 2022," PGC chief executive Andrew Minogue told Radio New Zealand (RNZ).

"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."

The CNMI Government remain committed to hosting the event, despite the problems caused by COVID-19.

The CNMI has been relatively unaffected by coronavirus with just 73 cases and two deaths.

The Northern Mariana Islands is still recovering from Typhoon Yutu which hit in October 2018 ©YouTube
The Northern Mariana Islands is still recovering from Typhoon Yutu which hit in October 2018 ©YouTube

The CNMI includes the 14 northernmost islands in the Mariana Archipelago; the southernmost island, Guam, is a separate United States territory.

In October 2018, a Category 5 Super Typhoon, Yutu, hit the territory and caused several million dollars of damage.

The Pacific Mini Games, an event first held in 1981 and which attracts about 2,000 athletes from 24 countries and territories, is seen as one of the events designed to help the CNMI recover.

"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," Minogue told RNZ.

"It's a real chance and 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.

"They still want to host the Games.

"[In] 2023 of course we've got our main [Pacific] 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."

A decision on the new dates for the Pacific Mini Games is expected this month.

"They [can] 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," Minogue told RNZ.