The CNMI won its first silver medal of the Northern Marianas Pacific Games 2022 after recent U.S. Air Force Academy graduate Lowell Cristobal salvaged second place in weightlifting’s clean & jerk portion of the 67-kg class at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
The 23-year-old failed his first two attempts at 120 kg and 125 kg, but returned with a purpose in his third and last try and I was able to lift 125 kg to the delight of the partisan home crowd.
His silver medal in the clean & jerk more than made up for his lackluster performance in the snatch where he failed his last two tries after opening with a lift of 90 kg.
“It’s just the nerves. It’s my first international competition. I was disappointed. My personal best is at 100 kg and really the problem was my nerves. I was able to lift it up but just my lockout was the problem that got me the red lights,” Cristobal said on his lifts in the snatch.
Then drama came in the clean & jerk, as the Marianas High School alumnus drew successive red lights in his first two attempts before hitting pay dirt in his third attempt.
“I knew I could lift 125 kg as I said it’s just the nerves that got into me. But I know I could hit 125 kg. My personal best is 132 kg and I knew I could definitely lift 125 kg. I’m dedicating this to my family and to my friends that came out. It’s really a good experience and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to represent the NMI,” he said.
As for the $2,500 incentive for the silver medal, the son of Leonardo Sr. and Ana Marie Cristobal said he’ll either save or invest the money.
NMI beats Solomons
After back-to-back defeats against powerhouse teams Tahiti and New Caledonia in Day 1 of the badminton competition last Monday, the NMI’s mixed team swept the Solomon Islands, 5-0, yesterday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Andreu Galvez and Windy Fernandez kicked things off with a 21-7, 21-10 win over Joseph Matiota and Norah Meke. Leonard Manuel then made it 2-0 after taking care of Jeffery Kalia, 21-15, 21-13. Janelle Pangilinan then clinched the tie after overcoming Elizabeth Meke, 21-10, 21-16. Mop-up duties went to Ezekiel Macario and Jordan Pangilinan and Fernandez and Jenine Savellano who triumphed against Joseph Taupiri and Rodney Vaka and Emma Soaki and Catherine Temete, 21-8, 21-11 and 21-12, 21-4, respectively.
Coach James Digno applauded his players for the bounce-back effort against the Solomons.
“Well done team! I never doubted in your ability to perform. You made everyone proud today. Go NMI! Although it was Solomon Islands’ first time playing at this level, they did very well. There were times the games were close. I applaud them and I hope they continue playing.”
In their next game, Team NMI narrowly lost against Wallis & Fatuna, 2-3.
Guerrero and Savellano made a gallant stand before ultimately losing to Julien Dauptain and Leilana Likuvalu, 21-11, 17-21, 18-21.
Janelle Pangilinan then went down fighting against Malia Takasi, 16-21, 12-21, before Andreau Galvez succumbed to the experience of Dauptain anew, 11-21, 19-21.
Savellano and Janelle Pangilinan returned the favor though with a gutsy 21-19, 26-24 win over Takasi Endrina and Tukumuli Nau before Galvez and Jordan Pangilinan ended the tie on a high note for Team NMI with a 21-14, 21-19 victory over Damien Coffin and Corentin Likiliki.
“Well played for both teams and thank you to Wallis & Fatuna for giving us one of the most exciting games we’ve ever played,” said Digno after the match.
Golf begins at COR
The golf competition in the 11th staging of the quadrennial event kicked off yesterday at the Coral Ocean Resort with Guam’s Redge Camacho, New Caledonia’s Guillaume Castagne, and Samoa’s Liu Vui atop the men’s leaderboard with identical 2-under par 70s.
The CNMI’s J.J. Atalig and Zhi Yun Li fired 77s in the opening round, while Franco Santos and Atalig’s son, Joshua, came away with a 79 and an 80, respectively.
On the women’s side, Guam’s Kayle Kang is tied with New Caledonia’s Mohea Mansbendel and Emelise Mardalaine after all three wound up with 5-over 77s. Save for Zhimin Jin’s fourth place 78, the rest of the CNMI women had a tough day at the golf course yesterday with Jeong Hyun Oh and Rose Rohringer carding similar 95s and Jeanet Torres finishing with a 104.
Tahiti shows its fangs
Outrigger canoe in the waters off the 13 Fishermen Monument saw Tahiti sweep both the men’s and women’s events of the day.
The Tahiti women took the gold in the V6 500 in a time of 2:18.68 followed by New Caledonia (2:19.86) and Papua New Guinea (2:32.09). The men matched the women’s feat with a 1:57.62 time with New Caledonia (1:58.77) and Wallis & Futuna (2:02.74) settling for the silver and the bronze, respectively.
In the V6 1,500, Tahiti took the women’s division after completing the race in 8:54.45. PNG was next in 9:07.05 followed by New Caledonia in 9:11.51. The Tahiti men won the gold in the event with a time of 7:22.63, followed by New Caledonia (7:42.81) and Wallis & Futuna (8:05.63).
Schorr keep winning
Doubles top seeds Colin Sinclair and Robbie Schorr advanced to the quarterfinals after blanking Solomon Islands’ Clivert Vakola and Junior Michael Miki, 6-0, 6-0, yesterday at the American Memorial Park tennis courts.
Sinclair and Schorr also played singles with the former beating Tahiti’s Heimanarii Laisan, 6-0, 6-2, and the latter taking care of Tahiti’s Reynald Taaroa, 7-5, 6-2.
In the women’s singles, Isabel Heras lost to Fiji’s Saoirse Breen 6-0, 6-2; but for mixed doubles Heras took up her racket again and teamed up with Sinclair as they beat Fiji’s Ruby Coffin and Sebastian Tikaram, 6-0, 6-1.
The NMI’s last match of the day saw Hye Jin Elliot and Colin Ramsay lose to Tonga’s Ela Vakaukamea and Semisi Fanguna, 6-1, 6-1.
Mister, Johnson win third straight game
Logan Mister and Andrew Johnson won their third consecutive game in men’s beach volleyball after beating Wallis & Futuna yesterday.
The duo got the better of Patrick Vanai and Lupeni Lau, 21-11, 21-6, on the sand courts of Crowne Plaza.
“I feel like we played well. We just played our game and it was very consistent and sound. We did what we were supposed to do and we were able to take the victory,” said Johnson after the win.
Mister said apart from wind conditions, everything went well in the game against Wallis & Futuna.
“It was a little tough playing in the wind but we managed.”
Kathy Winkfield and Charnessa Lizama, meanwhile, split their assignments as they beat Palau’s Kristen Suigiayama and Mitoko Charles, 21-16, 21-7; but succumbed to Guam’s Kendra Byrd and Kristen Serrano in a tough three-setter, 18-21, 21-15, 10-15.
Winkfield said it feels good to get win No. 1 under their belts after beating Palau.
“We’re playing our own game and we feel good. We are more relaxed today and just making sure that we make less errors and just play our game,” she said.
For Lizama, better communication led to better results against Palau.
“Me and my partner communicated more and we placed [the ball] really well in terms of our shot in the second set. It boosted our confidence and we pushed for the win. So, I feel really good about it.”
PNG has surged to the top of the medal standings with 12 gold, 7 silver, and 4 bronze medals followed by Guam (8-1-9), Tahiti (7-6-2), and the NMI (4-1-1) in the Top 4. (with reports from Chrystal Marino, Angel Li, and Jin Kim Abogado)