FSM athletes competing in Pacific Games

By Jim Tobin
FSM National Olympic Committee
The 2015 Pacific Games will be held in Port Moresby, PNG from July 4-18. Twenty-two Pacific islands nations will compete in 28 sports, with an estimated 4,500 athletes and coaches. The FSM delegation – TEAM FSM – will be 40 FSM athletes and coaches and will compete in Boxing, Tennis, Weightlifting, Swimming, Soccer (Football) and Swimming. The head of TEAM FSM (Chef de Mission) is Castro Joab.
The Pacific Games opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, July 04, with newly elected FSM President Peter Christian attending. The TEAM FSM flag bearer will be Manuel Minginfel, world famous Olympic weightlifter from Yap. Manuel's first appearance at a Pacific Games was at the Mini Games in Pago Pago, American Samoa in 1997. Since that time, he has competed in every single Pacific Games and Mini Games, winning a total of 19 gold medals and 5 silver medals. In Port Moresby, he will be competing for the first time in a new bodyweight category for him - 69kg category. In January, Minginfel received an Olympic athlete training scholarship to train and try to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
The FSM men's soccer team has be training on Guam the past few weeks. The team comprises 18 soccer athletes from Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei. The soccer athletes are: Mikson Kuka, Paulis Jeikek, Scott Rudolph, Roger Nakasone, James Macarthur, Ioane Kariti, Franson Simeon, Kacy Alton Olmos, Michael Reyes, Mark Jones, Jacob Nam, Dominic Gadad, Aaron Bayow, Jonothan Garayog, Devon Figirmow, Walter Pongkagnan, Benjiman Gilmoon and Javin Kognang. The head coach of the team is Stan Foster (from Australia). The assistant coach is Curtis Graham. The soccer athletes and coaches were selected by the leaders of the FSM Football Association. By competing in the games, the association is hoping to become a member of FIFA (international football association). The training camp on Guam was funded and organized by the FSM Football Association. The FSM National Olympic Committee provided a $50,000 grant that funded airfare, insurance, travel stipends and accommodation costs in Port Moresby.
For the first time, FSM will be competing in Boxing. Three male boxers from Pohnpei, Derick Perman, Royce Rott and Angelo Rodriquez will compete. One female from Yap, Jennifer Chieng will also compete. She currently trains at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York, USA, under Coach Devon Cormack and Heather Hardy who is the current WBC International Female Super Bantam weight Champion. In January, Chieng received an Olympic athlete training scholarship to train and try to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The FSM Boxing coach is Erick Divinagracia who is also the President of the newly formed FSM Boxing Association. The Boxing athletes and coaches were selected by the leaders of the FSM Boxing Association. The FSMNOC funded the airfare, insurance, travel stipends and accommodation costs for the FSM boxers.
TJ Apis, attending the Oceania Tennis Institute in Fiji, will be representing the FSM in Tennis. He is ranked in the top 5 of his age group in the Oceania Tennis player rankings. Apis will be coached by Ronald Etscheit.
Debra Daniel, 2-time Olympian, and Dionisio Augustine will be competing in Swimming, and will be coached by Sweeter Daniel. In January, Daniel received an Olympic athlete training scholarship to train to attempt to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Kitson Kapriel, 100 meter run gold medalist of the 2014 Micronesia Games, Roy Elwise, Pahnrasko Ardos, Penter Pluhs and Lihen Jonas will be competing in Athletics (Track and Field). The runners will be competing in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. The runners will be coached by Rendy Germinaro.
Alvin Ruuemau, Einstein Perman and Minginfel will compete in Weightlifting. The lifters will be coached by Ronald Etscheit. The Tennis, Swimming, Athletics and Weightlifting athletes and coaches were selected by each sports national federation. The FSMNOC funded these athletes and the coaches' airfare, insurance, travel stipends and accommodation costs from a special International Olympic Committee (IOC) grant for $30,000.
The FSM had hoped to send a men's Fast-Pitch Softball team to the games but the sport was cancelled due to lack of teams. The FSM would have also been competitive in Wrestling but it is not on the sport program of the 2015 Pacific Games.
TEAM FSM wishes to thank the Office of the FSM President and the FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs for funding team uniforms and a $200 stipend for all TEAM FSM athletes and coaches. Also a special thank you to TEAM FSM local sponsors: Palm Terrace Shopping Centre, Matson Navigation, Caroline Fisheries and Etscheit Enterprises.

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