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SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (March 15, 1998-Marshall Islands Journal)--- Palau is doing a tremendous job of preparing for the Micronesian Games to be held there in August, a Saipan-based sports official told the Marshall Islands Journal.

Bill Sakovitch, Chairman of the Micronesian Games Council in Saipan, said he is extremely impressed with the sports facilities built and renovated by the Palauans.

I just returned from Palau, after meeting with the Organizing Committee and several tournament directors," Sakovitch said. "The facilities are great: a new 25 meter swimming pool, two new softball fields, one excellent renovated baseball field, all with lights, two new tennis courts with lights, a new six lane all weather track, and a new gymnasium – the second one."

In addition to these new facilities, Sakovitch said the Palauans had renovated many other sports facilities in preparation for the event that will bring close to 2,000 athletes to Palau.

"Palau will be ready," Sakovitch said of the Games that are just four and a half months away. "Many teams are already working out. Schedules are just being finalized.

"I expect a good games with good competition," said Sakovitch, who visited Majuro last summer to meet with National Olympic Committee officials locally. "I know most of our teams (on Saipan) have begun training."

The Palau organizing committee decided to hold the opening ceremony on July 31 and begin the Games on August 1, Sakovitch said. The closing is still August 9.

From the original entries, there will be about 1,900 athletes and coaches participating, he indicated.

MARSHALL ISLANDS JOURNAL Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail: Fax: 692-625-3136 Tel. 692-625-8143 Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year: US $87.00; International $227.00 (air mail)

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