Text adapted by InsideTheGames | Photo Credit: Samoa 2019 Pacific Games News Service – Trina Edwards
Organisers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) had requested in April that a new date be found following the decision to postpone Tokyo 2020 by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pacific Mini Games had originally been scheduled to take place in June 2021.
Pacific Games Council (PGC) President Vidhya Lakhan revealed it had opened discussions with officials in the CNMI about finding a new slot on the calendar.
“Because of the coronavirus, we have asked the Governor of Saipan and the Olympic Committee there to possibly defer the games to December 2021 which give us six more months which give us and our athletes to regroup retrain and prepare for 2021,” says Lakhan.
Originally, the event was supposed to include 12 sports but was scaled down after Super Typhoon Yuyu struck the island in late 2018. As a result, the quadrennial event has been scaled back to feature six sports, including: athletics, badminton, baseball, beach volleyball, golf and triathlon.
Ralph Torres, Governor of the CNIM, a United States Commonwealth, had announced in July 2019 that the Government would withdraw from hosting the 2021 Pacific Mini Games to concentrate on the recovery efforts. But, following a discussion with the PGC, that decision was reversed to allow the islands to stage the event for the first time.
The last Pacific Mini Games took place in Vanuatu in 2017, but badminton had yet to feature on the list of participating sports.
However, Badminton Oceania was heavily involved in the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games, which brought together eight nations to compete across the individual and mixed team competition. Badminton has also been growing in Northern Marianas, with a team attending the Samoa 2019 Games, increased BWF Shuttle Time delivery and AirBadminton being considered for the school’s curriculum.
The addition of badminton to the 2021 Pacific Games is testament to the growth of the sport within the region and the event has become part of the Badminton Oceania Player Development programme.