The Pacific Mini Games are set to take place in the Northern Mariana Islands next year ©Pacific Games Council

Pacific Games Council (PGC) chief executive Andrew Minogue believes the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) can still host a successful Pacific Mini Games despite a challenging build-up.

The quadrennial Pacific Mini Games were pushed back from 2021 to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Games were also placed into doubt after Super Typhoon Yutu caused widespread destruction in the CNMI in October 2018.

This led to the Government saying it would abandon staging the Pacific Mini Games to focus on the recovery, but the decision was later reversed.

Minogue told RNZ that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could prove key to international multi-sport events could be held.

He expressed hope the event and a travel corridor between Australia and New Zealand could offer further optimism around the Pacific Mini Games.

"The infrastructure is there in Saipan: they've got the facilities, they've got enough accommodation for everybody - it's just a question of being sure we can get there and be safe once we are there," Minogue told RNZ.

"The Government is very committed.

"There's a real mobilisation that's happening now on the ground and the committees and the Organising Committee with Government people involved in that.

"I think the signs are good and we just have to hope the travelling environment improves."

Nine sports are expected to feature at next year's Games ©Pacific Games News Service/Alvaro Hoyos Ramos
Nine sports are expected to feature at next year's Games ©Pacific Games News Service/Alvaro Hoyos Ramos

The PGC recently added weightlifting, tennis and va'a to the programme for the Games, boosting the number of sports to nine.

Baseball, badminton, athletics, beach volleyball, triathlon and golf were the existing six.

Weightlifting had initially featured on the programme but was cut amid the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yutu.

Minogue said the CNMI, a self-governing commonwealth of the United States, has benefited from the COVID-19 Recovery Act in the US.

"There's money flowing through to the CNMI and I presume other parts of the United States to help rebuild the economy, to help get people back to work and the Governor has been able to find some additional funds on top of what we agreed in 2019 when the Games were rescued," Minogue said.

"Which means that we can add three of those sports back onto the programme, which is really good news.

"To bulk it up to nine sports I think gives us a chance to get over the 1,000 athletes, a substantial sized event in total, which I think is what we're all looking for, and I think that the CNMI are going to use it as part of their general recovery from COVID and reinvigorate the economy so we're very happy."