Team FSM to compete in London 2012 Olympic Games
Press Release #0712-05
Palikir, Pohnpei – FSM Information Services
July 12, 2012

FSMNOC (July 11, 2012):The Federated States of Micronesia will be sending six athletes to this year’s Olympic Games competing in Weightlifting, Swimming, Athletics (track and field) and, just announced, in Wrestling.  The 2012 Olympic Games are from July 27 to August 12, 2012 in London, England.  The FSM National Olympic Committee and FSM Wrestling Association were notified by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Wrestling Association (FILA) that Keitani Graham, FSM male Greco-Roman Wrestler from Chuuk State received a late Tripartite Commission invitation to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games.  This is outstanding news for the development of Wrestling in the FSM and is a great honor for Graham.  He has now returned to Hawaii to train and will arrive to London on July 24.  His coach is Larry Uwelar from Yap State. 

Over 10,000 athletes from 205 countries will participate in 28 sports in the London 2012 Olympic Games. The FSM sports delegation will include 6 athletes (Manuel Minginfel, Debra Daniel, Kerson Hadley, John Howard, Mihter Wendolin and  Keitani Graham), 6 coaches (Ron Etshceit, Sweeter Daniel, Rendy Germinaro, George Steven, Lestly Ashby and  Larry Uwelar), 1 Chef de Mission (Ted Rutun), 1 doctor (Dr. Felix Yomai), 1 Press Attaché (Marcellus Akapito), and FSM National Olympic Committee (FSMNOC) President and Secretary General (Berney Martin and Jim Tobin). 

The FSM athletes will be competing on the following dates and times (London time):
Manuel MINGINFEL – male – Weightlifting - 62kg men’s – 2.30pm 30 July;
Kerson HADLEY – male – Swimming - 50m free style prelim – 10.00am 02 August;
Debra DANIEL – female – Swimming - 50m free style preliminary – 10.00am 03 August;
Mihter WENDOLIN – female - Athletics - 100m women’s preliminary – 10.45am 03 Aug; John HOWARD – male – Athletics - 100m men’s preliminary – 10.00am 04 August; and Keitani GRAHAM – male – Greco-Roman Wrestling - 84kg division qualifications – 1.00pm 06 August.

For the first time ever, the FSM National Olympic Committee has sent the 2 FSM swimmers (Daniel and Hadley) and 2 FSM runners (Wendolin and Howard) and one coach (Germinaro) to a pre-Olympic Games training camp.  The FSM group arrived to Liverpool, England on June 11 and will remain at the camp for 6 weeks prior to moving into the Olympic Games Village in London on July 23. The FSM swimmers and runners will be trained by world-class English coaches from the NW England region.  This should greatly improve their results in the 50-meter free style and 100-meter dash at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The FSM National Olympic Committee applied and received a 25,000 pound pre-games training camp grant from the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee (LOCOG) to fund the majority of the costs of the FSM training camp. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) funded the airfare costs.

Minginfel has been training full-time since February at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in New Caledonia.  In June, he qualified on his own merit for the London 2012 Olympic Games by winning the men’s 62kg category at the 2012 Oceania Weightlifting Championships in Samoa.  He was the only lifter at the Championships who qualified on his own merit and was awarded the Best Overall Lifter trophy. Minginfel will be traveling with Paul Coffa, his institute coach and mentor, along with other Pacific island lifters from New Caledonia to London on July 24.

The FSMNOC also supported Keitani Graham, FSM male wrestler from Chuuk State, in his bid to qualify for the Olympic Games in Wrestling.  For over one year, Graham trained full time in Honolulu with some of the best USA wrestlers.  He competed in numerous continental and world Olympic wrestling qualifiers in Australia, Morocco, China and Finland. On June 23, Graham received a last minute Tripartite Commission invitation to compete in the Olympic Games.  For the past three Olympic Games (Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Athens 2004 Olympic Games and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games) the FSM had sent only 5 athletes to compete in Weightlifting, Swimming and Athletics.  The London 2012 Olympic Games will be the first time the FSM has sent 6 athletes, and the first Olympic Games the FSM has competed in Wrestling.  Daniel and Minginfel all received 2-year $28,000 London Olympic Games Athlete scholarships, more than another National Olympic Committee received in the region.

The FSMNOC, with funding support from the IOC, is working with FSM Telecommunications Corporation to live television broadcast the London Olympic Games on Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae, from a feed from SkyTV of New Zealand.