SAIPAN (RNZ PACIFIC) —The Pacific Games Council president says the Northern Marianas Islands has set a new standard on how the quadrennial event is hosted.

Vidhya Lakhan congratulated the Commonwwealth on its hosting of the Pacific MIni Games at the closing ceremony of the 11th staging of the quadrennial event at the Oleai Sports Complex in Saipan.

“You overcame the challenges of the recent typhoons and the Covid-19 pandemic, you forgot your own pain and sufferings, and devoted your time and energy in preparing to host the Pacific Mini Games. In doing so, you raised the bar in many areas. For the first time, in the history of the Pacific Games, all the delegations were housed in hotels instead of schools converted into dormitories. The critical areas of food and Games transportation were all superb,” he said.

Lakhan also praised Governor Ralph Torres and the Northern Marianas community for welcoming the athletes and officials.

The council president also congratulated the CNMI delegation for recording its best performance of the Games after surpassing its gold medal count from all previous Pacific Games or Mini Games combined – 16 gold, 13 silver, and eight bronze. Team NMI finished third to powerhouses Papua New Guinea and Tahiti in the medal standings.

In all, the CNMI won in each of the nine sport categories, garnering a medal or more in weightlifting, badminton, tennis, baseball, va’a, golf, athletics, triathlon, and beach volleyball.

The Northern Marianas Sports Association, meanwhile, shared Team NMI’s success in the Mini Games with all the individuals and groups that supported the athletes and officials.

“Seeing everyone come together and rally behind Team NMI gave our athletes and officials the courage and strength to go out there and deliver their best performance. Team NMI’s success in the Mini Games is the product of the overwhelming support we got from our community,” NMSA president Jerry Tan said.

“What we saw was a community ready to burst out. It’s like we were knocked down, got up, knocked down again, got up, knocked down, got up, but this time we are staying up,” the NMI Sports Hall of Famer said.

“Our athletes were inspired by the overflowing support from the business community and individuals. I believe that helps explain what propelled them to strive harder and achieve greater results than any other Games,” he added…. PACNEWS

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