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Friday, April 18, 2014

10 teams confirmed stint in Micronesian Cup

The Saipan Outrigger Canoe Club men’s team digs hard down the homestretch in a local paddling competition organized by the Hoe Lokahi Canoe Club last June in the waters off Kilili Beach. (Walter Sutherland) Ten teams have already registered to compete in the 14th Annual Micronesian Cup, which will be held on Oct. 27 and 28 at the Kanoa Resort.

The list includes groups from Saipan’s four active canoe clubs: Hoe Lokahi Canoe Club, Marianas Pacific Paddlers, the Saipan Outrigger Canoe Club, and Saipan Paddlers Club. Notably, SOCC men’s crew was the last team from Saipan to win overall honors in the Micro Cup, achieving the feat in 2009 in Palau.

The organizing Northern Marianas National Paddle Sport Federation is expecting more teams from Guam, Hong Kong, Japan, Palau, and Yap.

Richard Sikkel of NMNPSF has estimated that about 200 individuals will participate in the two-day event or 25 to 30 total crews will join the action.

The competition begins with the 500-meter sprint and 1,500-meter distance events, while the long distance treks are saved for Day 2. The tournament will have separate races for men’s, women’s, mixed, and junior (U18) divisions.

The Top 3 finishers of each event, per division, will receive trophies, while one group will also be declared overall Marianas Cup champion.

The NMNPSF has already received pledges from several donors in addition to other contributions such as $1,000 cash from Duty Free Shoppers, and is currently working to gather even more support from the community to come up with additional prizes for the winning teams.

Some other contributions include in-kind donations from United Airlines and Kanoa Resort in the form of reduced airfare and discounted hotel room rates for visiting competitors. United Airlins has also donated plane tickets as prizes.

Moreover, the Tan Siu Lin Foundation is sponsoring the awards banquet, which will also be held at Kanoa Resort. The NMNPSF is grateful for all of the donations it has received and looks forward to having more donors engage in this important community event.

This marks Saipan’s fifth time to host the competition and organizers urge the public to come out and observe the races to cheer on their favorite teams.

Founded in 1999, the Micro Cup’s intention remains to reinvigorate the sport of outrigger canoeing around the region.

Saipan, Guam, and Palau take turns every year in hosting the popular two-day paddling regatta, which in the past, has also featured visiting teams from Australia and Singapore.

Organizers welcome any interested volunteers as well as donations and requests supporters to visit microcup2012.blogspot.com; or contact either saipanoutrigger@gmail.com; Sikkel at rsikkel@pticom.com; or call Kaity Mattos at 285-5253, for more information.

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