5 countries pull out from regionals


This year’s Asia-Pacific-Middle East Junior, Senior, and Big League Regional Tournament is down to six countries and 14 teams after five pulled out due to various reasons.

Falcons’ pitcher Noel Cabrera is expected to help the CNMI Junior League All-Stars in their campaign to reach the World Series. (Jon Perez)

Falcons’ pitcher Noel Cabrera is expected to help the CNMI Junior League All-Stars in their campaign to reach the World Series. (Jon Perez)

India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and New Zealand have informed the organizing committee that they won’t be sending teams to this year’s regionals, set from June 26 to July 6 on Saipan.

Tournament director James Ada said India could not get a flight in time for the regionals’ opening. India was initially set to compete in all three divisions.

Indonesia, which originally entered teams in the Junior and Senior divisions, decided to cancel its trip in observance of Ramadan that will run from June 17 to July 17.

Saudi Arabia has the same reason since it is also a Muslim country and must observe Ramadan, which involves fasting and prayers. Saudi Arabia has earlier signified its intention to compete in the Senior League.

Vietnam, reportedly, could not secure US visas on time, while New Zealand’s reason for pulling out was not yet known. Vietnam entered a Junior League team, while New Zealand was scheduled to compete in the Senior division.

With these withdrawals, teams are now down from 20 to 14 with Australia, Chinese Taipei Guam, Hong Kong, and the Philippines joining tournament host CNMI in the Juniors division.

The CNMI, Guam, Hong Kong and the Philippines have teams in the Senior League, while Chinese Taipei will be battling the CNMI, Guam and the Philippines in the Big League.

Ada, despite the five countries pulling out, said that there are still enough teams competing in the regionals and Saipan is ready to welcome them later this month.

Australia and the Philippines are the first teams expected to arrive on Saipan as they are set to fly in on June 24, while Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong are scheduled the following day.

Meanwhile, the regional tournament organizing committee will be holding another meeting on June 9 at 10:30am at Ada’s office at the Department of Public Works in San Jose along Beach Road.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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