Late Wednesday evening, the 2018 Micronesian Games Organizing Committee sent a press release to the media announcing Team Nauru is withdrawing from competition.
Nauru Olympic Committee President Marcus Stephen informed the MGOC that economics was the reason for withdrawing from the Micro Games. Opening ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday night, with the two-week competition beginning Monday. Track and field is slated to begin the Micro Games with the men's 10,000-meter run.
“I wish to inform everyone that Team Nauru unfortunately will not be participating at the 2018 Micro Games,” Stephen wrote. “It is a big disappointment for us, as we had ordered all our uniforms and paid for them, but due to the travel costs ... it is simply not feasible for us.”
Stephen wrote that air travel to Yap is cost-prohibitive and that he and the Nauru government would have needed ample, creative assistance to make it to the Games.
“The only option left for Team Nauru was to charter a flight to Yap with Team Kiribati and share the costs,” Stephen wrote. “For your information, the charter flight would cost us $300,000 ... which would equate to about $7,500 per person, considering our reduced number, plus, add uniforms and village per diem costs. Our government, even though very supportive, saw that it was not feasible to spend this kind of money and can be better spent elsewhere.”
Nauru is a tiny Pacific island with an area of approximately 8 square miles and a population of around 11,000.
“Every Micro Games is a challenge for us, especially with the travel up north,” Stephen wrote. “Probably, for future Games, if hosted up north, we hope that some consideration and concession can be given to Nauru and Kiribati to assist us. This can be a discussion for later.”
He added, “I would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone success and the best of luck for the Games.”