The CNMI will be represented anew in FISU's University Games after two beach volleyball players gained entry to the 27th Summer Universiade that will be held in Kazan, Russia this year.
Summer Universiade director Marc Vandenplas, in an email sent to Northern Marianas Amateur Sports Association president Michael White last week, said the CNMI is one of the two countries in the Oceania zone selected to compete in the University Games.
“We have the pleasure to inform you that your team has been selected to participate in the following tournament (beach volleyball) of the 2013 Summer Universiade,” Vandenplas said in his email.
“We're in. Congratulations to the CNMI Men's Beach Volleyball Team, John Nekaifes and Clay McCullough-Stearns, who were just officially selected to participate in the 2013 Summer University Games in Kazan, Russia,” White wrote in his email sent to NMASA members and in his Facebook account.
McCullough-Stearns and Nekaifes will only be the third and fourth CNMI athletes to participate in the competition sanctioned by Fédération Internationale du Sport Universitaire (International University Sports Federation). Swimmer Rezne Wong and biker Matthew Mancao were the first two, joining the 26th Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China in 2011.
Laurie Peterka, president of Northern Mariana Islands Volleyball Association, which nominated McCullough-Stearns and Nekaifes, and coach Russ Quinn, welcomed the good news. The NMIVA officials also said its time for the CNMI spikers to get down to work and train hard for the competition that will be held from July 6 to 17.
The CNMI Team is one of the 31 squads selected to compete in the beach volleyball event, joining Australia in the Oceania group. Europe's zone has the most entries with Russia, Austria, and Germany having two teams apiece and Czech Republic, France, Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Turkey fielding one each. China and Oman also have two squads each and are joined by Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates in the Asia pool, while South Africa is the lone Africa entry. In the America group, the U.S. and Brazil have two apiece, while Canada and Mexico have only one entry.
Meanwhile, NMASA's monthly meeting is set for tonight at 7pm at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.