The CNMI will be represented in the 6th Australian Youth Olympic Festival after Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center's Kensuke Kimura was selected on the swim team that will compete in Sydney next year.
Kimura is one of the 12 swimmers on the Oceania Team that will race in the AYOF, which will from Jan. 16 to 20. The AYOF is an international multi-sport event organized by the Australian Olympic Committee and was first held in 2001. It was originally a biennial event but after the International Olympic Committee started the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, the host country decided to make AYOF a quadrennial competition. Next year's AYOF will feature 16 other sports and 30 nations and is for athletes in the U17 age group.
Joining Kimura on the Oceania Team are New Caledonia's Nathan Barberis, Emmanual Limozin, Emma Terebo, and Maeva Parayre, Fiji's Meli Malani, Cheyene Rova, and Skye Eden, and Tahiti's Maruiki Aitamai, Alex Buvry, Noeline Laughlin, and Mehani Beradino. Tahiti's Paul Lang will be the team's head coach, while Samoa's Suzie Schuster will assist him and also serves as manager.
Northern Marianas Swimming Federation president John Hirsh announced Kimura's selection after receiving an email from Oceania Swimming Association honorary secretary Lawrie Cox of Australia.
“The 2013 AYOF Oceania Team has been announced. Great news. Kensuke has been selected. Congratulations to Kensuke,” Hirsh said in an email circulated to NMSF members and officials.
Kimura is thankful for his selections and vows to set CNMI records in Sydney and help his Oceania Team in keeping up with the host country, Brazil, Canada, China, New Zealand, Hungary, and Japan.
“I feel so honored to be chosen on the Oceania Team. I will be the first swimmer from the CNMI to attend the Australia Youth Olympics so I want to make my coach, teammates, and my supporters proud by getting good results from my races,” Kimura said.
“I am also looking forward to meeting my teammates and building a strong relationship with them. The next two months will all be about hard work, as I prepare for the tournament next year,” the Grace Christian Academy student added.
Kensuke's coach and father, Hiro, said his son's selection will serve as an inspiration to CNMI's upcoming swimmers.
“Kensuke selection will encourage young swimmers to keep practicing hard as they may earn the same chance to compete in a prestigious tournaments, such as the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. It's a great experience for Kensuke, as he will be able to race along side Oceania swimmers and learn from new coaches,” the older Kimura said.
Hiro added that he needs to coordinate first with Hirsh and Oceania officials about Kensuke's races in Sydney next year. Fourteen individual events and three relays are scheduled in next year's AYOF.