The Northern Marianas Badminton Association will have four representatives to the Badminton Oceania’s Pacific Umpire Course.
NMBA president Merlie Tolentino, secretary general Cristy VIllaflor, and CNMI National Team players Nate Guerrero and Janelle Pangilinan will attend the course, which is divided into eight sessions and will be held every Monday, starting on Oct. 12 and will run until next month.
London Olympic Games (2012) official David Turner, a Badminton World Federation certified umpire, will conduct the free online course and the NMBA representatives are excited to learn from the former player and coach from Tasmania, Australia.
Tolentino said that every opportunity offered to NMBA, whether it’s for the development of the players or technical officials, is of significant importance, as the association needs every assistance it could get from international/regional federations to help grow the sport on the islands.
Villaflor, who recently coordinated NMBA’s Shuttle Time, featuring AirBadminton, added that the course could not have come at a better time as they will be preparing for the hosting of a regional competition two years from now via the Pacific Mini Games.
“We are looking forward to learning updates on the rules and regulation of badminton as well as refresh our knowledge of the game. The knowledge we will gain from the course will be shared to our members. Implementing the laws, code of conducts, and rules and regulations based on the international standards in local-level tournaments will better prepare our youth and future national team players for bigger and tougher competitions, such as the Mini Games in 2022,” Villaflor said.
Pangilinan, who represented the CNMI in the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa, said learning about the officiating side of badminton gives players like her a different perspective about the sport and helps them encourage more people to get involved in the program.
“This opportunity will help us encourage other players in the NMBA to learn how to be an official umpire. This will also help us get certified umpires and prepare us for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games. You don’t need to play badminton to know how to umpire the game,” said Pangilinan.
Badminton Oceania’s Pacific Umpire Course is for two categories of officials: accredited and certified. The course will be Pangilinan’s second time to be part of one of Badminton Oceania’s programs. Last year during the Pacific Games, the 21-year-old athlete and her teammates on the national squad attended Shuttle Time sessions, learning how to teach the fundamentals of the sport to children in the 5-15 age group. Since coming home from Samoa, Janelle along with her sibling Jordan and teammates Ezekiel and Daniel Macario, Andreau Galvez, Nicole Malasarte, and Guerrero have conducted three Shuttle Time sessions.