Jerry Tan elected NMSA president; board identifies concerns

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(NMSA) — Staunch CNMI sports supporter Jerry Tan was elected board president of the Northern Marianas Sports Association on Wednesday.

Joining Tan, who is also the head of the Northern Mariana Islands Football Association, on the NMSA board of officers are Northern Marianas Athletics’ Ramon Tebuteb as vice president; Northern Marianas National Paddling Sports Federation’s Valerie Hofschneider, secretary; and Northern Mariana Islands Swimming Federation’s John Hirsh, treasurer. The other board members are Justin Andrew, James Lee, and Laurie Peterka. Two more individuals — athletes and students’ representatives — will be selected to complete the group of officials.

Jerry Tan

“I am honored and humbled with this election and deeply grateful for the trust that the NMSA board and the general membership have given me,” Tan said.

“The new NMSA board and the rest of the sports community, along with our government and business leaders, have a lot of work to do, as we prepare for the hosting of the 2021 Pacific Mini Games and address the concerns of our athletes, coaches, and each sports federation. With these challenges ahead, I humbly ask for everyone’s support so that we can achieve our goals for CNMI sports,” the new NMSA head added.

After the election, the NMSA board discussed its priorities as well as concerns regarding facilities, particularly the Oleai Sports Complex and the former Kan Pacific Swimming Pool, competitions (international and local) and the technical development of each sports federation, funding/finances.

Tan proposed to create committees to focus on these priorities while further discussion among the NMSA general membership and the active involvement of the private and public sectors are expected in the coming months as the new NMSA leadership aims to bring everyone on board to get things going.

Commending Michael White

The new NMSA board also acknowledged the achievements of its former president, Michael White, who led the group for 16 years. White was nominated to the board, but he politely declined it.

“For 16 years, Michael White steered NMSA through hardships and triumphs,” Tan said. “To volunteer his time and effort for a long period of time speaks volume of his profound love and concern for CNMI sports, particularly for our athletes. He has done a lot for CNMI sports and the new NMSA board will do its very best to continue the changes and developments he has instituted,” Tan said.

Under White’s leadership, the CNMI was able to win the hosting rights for the 2006 Micronesian Games and the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. He also led the Commonwealth in the 2010 Micronesian Games in Palau where the CNMI won its most gold medals (44).

The CNMI Sports Hall of Famer was at the forefront, too, of the successful move to give NMSA the right to manage and maintain the Oleai Sports Complex. White helped NMSA/CNMI gain membership to the Oceania National Olympic Committee and Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire, allowing CNMI athletes and officials to participate in events sanctioned by the two groups. The former NMSA head likewise coordinated with government agencies and other concerned groups to seek grants for the improvement of the sports facilities in the Commonwealth.

“On behalf of the new NMSA board, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Michael White for without his leadership and passion for CNMI sports, these accomplishments will not be possible. He will be an inspiration to us, as we work on realizing our vision for NMSA and the members of our sports community,” Tan said.

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