Access to badminton made easier


Participants in Northern Marianas Badminton Association’s Shuttle Time get ready to hit the AirShuttle during a session yesterday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Northern Marianas Badminton Association is bringing the sport closer to the community.

In a bid to make badminton more accessible to the public, especially the youth, NMBA held another session of Shuttle Time, utilizing the program to introduce AirBadminton—the outdoor version of the sport.

CNMI National Team members worked with nine young students at the Oleai Sports Complex Field yesterday, demonstrating warm-up drills before teaching them the basics of the sport, such as footwork, proper way of holding the racket and hitting the AirShuttle (the especially-designed shuttlecock for outdoor badminton), and serving.

CNMI National Team player Nate Guerrero, right, teaches Elijah Dela Cruz how to properly hold the racket during a Shuttle Time session yesterday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

“I had fun, especially the activities we did before they taught us how badminton is played. I am happy that I came here to try and learn a new sport. Hopefully we can play it in our school,” Oleai Elementary School student Elijah Dela Cruz said.

Shuttle Time is Badminton World Federation’s program which provides school access to free resources, training, and equipment to support the teaching of enjoyable and safe badminton activities to students. AirBadminton, on the other hand, is the newest addition to BWF’s programs, as it was introduced just last year. The outdoor sport can be played in hard, grass, and sand surfaces in parks, gardens, streets, playgrounds, and beaches, making it more accessible to players than the traditional badminton.

Participants in the Northern Marianas Badminton Association’s Shuttle Time pose for a photo with organizers and facilitators of the program yesterday at the Oleai Sports Complex Field. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

“I think with AirBadminton, we could encourage more players to try the sport because they can play in any open space. Children love to go outdoors and play and AirBadminton fits the activity they want every time they go out,” said CNMI National Team member Janelle Pangilinan, who was among the facilitators of Shuttle Time.

“We are pleased to get a good number of participants today (yesterday). I know we could have more, but with the restrictions and for safety measures against COVID-19, we have to limit the number of kids,” Pangilinan added.

Participants in the Shuttle Time perform warm-up drills. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

Marian Quidato made it to the short list of the Shuttle Time participants and finds the sport challenging and exciting.

“I need to learn more about my footwork and how to swing the racket,” Quidato said.

CNMI National Team player Andreau Galvez demonstrates to students some footwork drills. (Roselyn B. Monroyo)

NMBA will reach out to more young players and visit schools to introduce Shuttle Time and AirBadminton once restrictions on large-group gatherings are lifted and it is safe to engage students in activities.

“We would like to thank Badminton Oceania and the Badminton World Federation for providing us with the resources to hold Shuttle Time and AirBadminton. We look forward to our continued partnership with them, as NMBA works on building a sustainable program for our students and our youth and providing them with activities that promote health and wellness,” NMBA president Merlie Tolentino said.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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