FSM Prepares For Micronesian Games

by Eddie Siguenza

TAMUNING, Guam (Marianas Variety): June 11, 2002 - The Guam National Olympic Committee has received a status report from the Federated States of Micronesia's organizing committee preparing for next month's Micronesian Games in Pohnpei.

Jim Tobin, FSMNOC secretary-general, provided the report, which describes the various venues and the current conditions they're in.

The COM-FSM Sport Complex, which will be the venue for the basketball, wrestling and weightlifting events, is Pohnpei's recent state-of-the-art facility. Construction is complete, according to Tobin. Weights and wrestling mats arrived in the first week of July.

The PNI Track and Field, which will host athletics, is near completion. Ninety percent of the new drainage system is installed. Extra lights will be finished this week. Workers will water blast the track surface on July 15 and hurdles and the high jump pit are expected to arrive in the first week of July.

The 5th Micronesian Games are slated for July 21 to Aug. 2. The participants are Guam, the CNMI, FSM, Palau, the Marshall Islands and other Pacific islands.

Tobin said the Pohnpei Tennis Complex will have four courts.

The swimming pool will have six 25-meter lanes. The facility is 95 percent completed. The tiling and fencing are completed and a filter pump has been installed.

"We still have problems with the chlorination system," Tobin said. "The pool will be filling in 10 days. It looks great. General landscaping and parking lot work will be completed by the end of the month."

The Spanish Wall Ballfield will be the official site for men's fast-pitch and maybe women slow-pitch softball. Tobin said the field is "finished...and grass seeding will be completed tomorrow. Outfield warning track will be completed by June 14. The equipment will arrive today."

The adjacent softball facility, Paliker softball field, is 50 percent completed, Tobin said.

"The organizing committee would like this to be the women's softball venue but they're still unsure if it will be completed in time," he said.

"The ISAF technical delegates would prefer we only use one field. The decision will be made the first week of July."

Pohnpei's baseball field, as of last Friday, was 85 percent finished.

"It's looking good. The outfield has been compacted. Bleachers are 90 percent finished," said Tobin. "Lights are finished. Seeding of the outfield will be done this weekend. It finally looks like a ballfield! The equipment will arrive today."

Volleyball will be played at the COM-FSM Pohnpei Campus Gym. This facility is 75 percent done. "Cement foundation is being poured. It needs 21 days to settle," Tobin said. "Flooring and lines will be installed the second week of July. Lights will be installed the last week of June."

Tobin, however, is concerned about the progress of the volleyball site.

"This is the one I worry about," he said. "PNI State gym is the backup. It has a new floor and lines will be finished next week. But the ceiling is less than FIVB specifications. We have FIVB umpires coming from the U.S., China and Fiji so we hope the new gym will be completed."

The Micronesian All-Around will be held at Lihdikika Beach. This is also the site for canoe racing and spear fishing.

Tobin said, "The community will assist with a general clean up of the area. Three canoes have arrived and we hope the GNOC will assist with three more canoes from Guam."

The games are about 40 days away. Guam will send a delegation to compete in volleyball, swimming, athletics, softball, canoe racing, basketball, wrestling, weightlifting and spear fishing.

"We are very happy the sport venues are almost complete. Sorry about the softball and baseball fields, which may have little grass. But everything else should be above average," Tobin said. "Please remember to bring your own practice and warm-up balls. For basketball and volleyball we have enough game balls but since we have so many teams competing we ask you to please bring your own practice balls."

About 50 U.S. Marines from Japan will assist the games organizing committee with medical, food service, water purification and technology. Tobin said the group will be led by Lt. Col. Leo Falcam, Jr., son of FSM President Leo Falcam.

"We have a lot of work to do in the next seven weeks," he said. We will try to make the games a great experience for all."