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As of Tuesday there only 150 days remaining before the Micro Games will kick off in Pohnpei.
Bob Spegal, the CEO of the hosting committee says that plans for the games are coming along quite nicely though there is still quite a bit to be done.
He said that a company out of Switzerland has been hired to resurface the PICS track and two of that company’s employees have already been to the track to make a full assessment of what needs to be done.
Payment for materials has already been made and the rubberized surface materials should be on their way from Switzerland shortly.
Spegal said that the company has built over 200 tracks in Australia and the Pacific region and has, if you will, a good track record.
“We want to be sure to do this right this time,” Spegal said. The last track that was installed did not have sufficient drainage and was installed over a crushed coral bed.
The rubberized surface did not adhere to the underlayment and it began to buckle almost as soon as it was installed. He said that this time Pohnpei Transportation Authority will be laying down an asphalt bed for the track and that it will take them about a month from start to finish to lay that down including time to let the asphalt cure.
Next, the company will lay down a surface that is made of recycled tires followed by the final track surface. Spegal was told that process would take the company about two weeks to complete and that the track should last for many years with a minimum of maintenance.
He said the track would be completed in time.
Meanwhile the PICS gymnasium is also undergoing a major renovation which should be completed soon.
Because of the grant from the People’s Republic of China, COM’s China Friendship gym will also be getting a major facelift including lighting and sound improvements, the scoreboard will be repaired, backboards
replaced, and some new air conditioning will be added. Plans have not yet been completed on how to deal with the broken arena seating and some discussion is being held about the possibility of removing the plastic backed seats entirely.
Spegal says that VCS has nearly completed the tennis court. Apparently all that remains is to lay down the surface which will require some dry days. The PICS track renovation will also require some dry days and he’s
keeping his fingers crossed that there will be enough dry weather during next 150 so that everything will be done before the games start.
Spegal said that since the last Micro Games held in Pohnpei in 2002 the local sports federations have become stronger and have been taking on more responsibility for the facility they use rather than assuming that the State Government will handle everything.
For example, Senator Peter Christian and his son Chris are taking care of drainage problems and other facilities problems at the Daini baseball field where all of the baseball games will be held during the 2014 Micro Games.
The Tuna Commission has committed to fix up the Spanish Wall ball field where softball games will be held.'
The College of Micronesia – FSM is putting in a new soccer field at the National Campus so soccer (football) will be part of the 2014 Micro Games.
Spegal said that Jim Tobin of the FSM National Olympic Committee has applied for and received nearly US$400,000 worth of grants for sports equipment as well as to pay for officials such as referees for the games. New mats, weights, table tennis tables and other equipment have already been purchased and some of the equipment has already arrived. They have also ordered a system for the swim competitions that will record the exact moment that a swimmers hand touches the pool wall.
Spegal said that the venues have to be up to international standards in order for any record breaking athletic feats to be recorded in the international sporting community. He said that they will meet those standards.
The athletes’ village will once again be at the PICS dormitories but the organizing committee is expecting 1700 to 1800 athletes and coaches for the games. The numbers won’t be final until each of the participants
have actually bought their plane tickets and the committee is still waiting to hear how many athletes will be coming from Nauru and Kiribati.
Spegal said that they have arranged for Ohmine and Kolonia elementary schools to be used as overflow sites the for athlete’s village. He said that next week they will be ordering food supplies, cots, pillows,
bedding and other items that will be needed for the athletes.
Spegal said that as far as he knows, all of the hotel rooms in Pohnpei have been booked up during the Micro Games including new rooms that are still being built. He is trying to get a central phone number that people can call who might be willing to potentially host visitors in their homes but was unable to do so before press time.
He also said that many volunteers will be needed for accommodation, transportation, protocol, sports competition, security and others including food services. “Food services volunteers are the heroes of the
games,” he said.
The hosting committee also needs medical volunteers. Spegal said that during the 2002 games the United States sent some U.S. military medics who were very helpful. He hopes that might be able to happen again for the 2014 games.
Spegal said that the mandate for the Hosting and Coordinating Committee by the Micro Games Council which includes representatives from all of the 10 jurisdictions who will be sending athletes to compete in the games is to host a successful Micro Games so that any records that are broken can be recognized.
He said that it is beyond the scope of the hosting committee to favor any jurisdiction’s team over another.
“It wouldn’t be ethical for the organizing committee to provide special support for any one jurisdiction’s teams,” he said.
He said that early on it was decided that Pohnpei State would make any requests from local businesses for funding specifically for the support of the Pohnpei team, and that the Micro Games Organizing Committee would make any requests from the larger FSM and international business community for funding for the games themselves.
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