The Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Government have been praised for their commitment to hosting the Pacific Mini Games, even though the coronavirus pandemic has forced them to be postponed by a year until 2022.
The CNMI, a United States Commonwealth, had been due to host the next edition of the Pacific Mini Games in June 2021, but following the postponement of the Olympics in Tokyo until 2021 and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CNMI Governor Ralph Torres, the Northern Marianas Sports Association (NMSA) and the Pacific Games Council (PGC) agreed to a delay.
They are now scheduled to take place in the capital Saipan between June 17 and 25.
"On behalf of my Board and my membership I would like to thank [Governor Torres], and [NMSA President] Jerry [Tan] and the [rest of the] NMSA team for retaining their commitment to host the Pacific Mini Games in 2022," PCG chief executive Andrew Minogue told the NMSA annual meeting via a video link.
"Many of you have seen that, around the world, similar events are being cancelled or postponed indefinitely, and the easy decision would have been to cancel the Games altogether.
"But your Governor, other Government officials and the sporting family of the CNMI fully understand the importance of hosting the next Games.
"It's a postponement and not a cancellation and we look forward to 2022."
After Super Typhoon Yutu caused widespread destruction in the CNMI in October 2018, Torres announced that the Government would withdraw from hosting the Games to concentrate on the recovery efforts, but that decision was later reversed.
The programme was reduced from 12 sports to six as a cost-cutting measure, although it has been suggested that tennis and weightlifting - not currently on the schedule - could be added.
Minogue told the NMSA meeting that they hope to bring a delegation of PCG Council members to Saipan in the second-half of next year to inspect preparations.
The CNMI has been relatively unaffected by COVID-19.
According to John Hopkins University, there have been only 104 recorded cases there with two deaths.
Vanuatu hosted the last edition of the Pacific Mini Games in 2017.
Palau will then host in 2025.