Marshall Islands Athletics Federation (MIAF) delegation headed to Jaluit Atol as apart of the Athletics Olympic Dividend funding.
Jaluit is a large coral atoll of the 91 islands in the Marshall Islands. Its total land area is 11.34 square kilometers (4.38 sq mi), and it encloses a lagoon with an area of 690 square kilometers (270 sq mi). Jaluit is approximately 220 kilometers (140 mi) southwest of Majuro.
In 2011 the population of the islands of Jaluit Atoll was 1,788. It has one high school, which is a boarding school that services the southern islands atolls for schooling, as well as 7 primary schools.
The trip to Jaluit is part of the 2022 MIAF project focusing on more participation where establishing a group of reliable contact in Jaluit will be crucial for the development of the sport. Majuro has been the main focus for the track and field for decades and neighbouring islands has never been involved in any of the track and field development. The first phase therefore is to put in place a local working group with the consideration of the schools and community.
The MIAF delegation, was led by MIAF President, Mr. Christopher Makiphie (MIAF President). He was accompanied by Ms. Joy Kawakami (MIAF Vice President for Women in Sports) and Mr. Siosiua Nikua (MIAF Secretary General).
On arrival to Jaluit, the visiting delegation met with the local leaders including the acting Mayor, Council women, Jaluit High School’s principal, Elementary Schools’ principals and other community leaders. The purpose of the visit was actually preannounced via the office of the Mayor from Majuro.
The discussion was in regards to the proposed program and to confirm the time, venues and what might be required. The MIAF president and secretary discussed that the Special Olympics is not only for Majuro however, there is a plan to extend the program to the neighboring islands, but it depends on the available funding to make it happen. Secretary also responded that in the presentation dates, there will be a presentation on Special Olympics for the community awareness.
On the second day, MIAF meet with Jaluit Sports Committee, and this meeting was to basically for the purpose of forming a local organizing group for the development of track and field in Jaluit. Part of the discussion was to ensure that the Jaluit High School PE teacher to come to Majuro and attend some coaching training with the coaches in Majuro. MIAF should also plan some coaching training for P.E teachers during school summer program.
The Next Jaluit Day will be in September 2023. The sport’s committee is requesting to have a track and field competition as part of this local celebration. It will also great to have a field day for elementary school children under kids athletics. The MIAF will create a plan to be able to implement an athletics competition as apart of the celebrations.
MIAF will look at ways to be able to provide training and equipment to Jaluit High School, to encourage boarding students to be involved in athletics. With Athletics one of the main sports in the Micronesian Games in 2023, to be able to have athletes from all islands represent MHL there is seen as import.
Overall the trip was a success, with a new local committee in place to help take the plans of MIAF into Jaluit.