Akimaru, Gauran deliver medals


Swimmers Kento Akimaru and Sophia Gauran gave the CNMI four more medals, as open water swim competition in the 9th Micronesian Games started last Friday at the Yap Marina.

Akimaru bagged a gold medal last Saturday after nosing out rival Noel Keane of Palau in a close race in the men’s 2.5-kilometer swim. Akimaru completed the event in 35:45.1 against the 35:45.4 of Keane. Palau’s Jericho Maido got the bronze after beating the CNMI’s Jinnosuke Suzuki as the former registered 35:57.1 versus the latter’s 36:05.1. Juhn Tenorio (39:09), Lennosuke Suzuki (39:53), Anthony Camacho-Deleon Guerrero (40:50), Nelson Batallones (42:27), Taiyo Akimaru (43:34), and David Boyer (49:44) were the other Commonwealth swimmers who competed against Palau, the Marshall Islands, Yap, and Pohnpei bets in the 2.5K race.

Kento’s victory last Saturday avenged his loss to Keane in the 5K event last Friday. Keane handed Palau the gold medal in the longest race in the open water swim after clocking in at 1:14:29, while Kento settled for the silver as the CNMI swimmer recorded 1:14:41. Maido secured the bronze after posting 1:16:12.

Siblings Jinnosuke and Lennosuke were ranked fourth and fifth after registering 1:18:38 and 1:20:53, respectively, and were followed by Tenorio (1:21:01) and Deleon Guerrero (1:21:09). Batallones finished at No. 11 after posting 1:28:04.

In the women’s division, Gauran notched silver medals both in the 2.5K and 5K events.

The CNMI swimmer completed the 2.5K race in 41:32 to place behind Palau Olympian Chilton Osisang (39:05) and beat Pohnpei’s Kestra Kihleng (43:42). Palau’s Roylin Akiwo (49:06), and the Marshall Islands’ Kayla Hepla (50:18) rounded out the finishers in last Saturday’s race.

Last Friday in the 5K event, Gauran timed in at 1:29:51 for her first medal. Osisang clinched the gold after checking in at 1:25:24, while Akiwo gave Palau another podium finish with her 1:31:54. Kihleng missed the bronze after posting 1:34:36.

With Gauran and Kento contributing four medals to the CNMI’s campaign, the Commonwealth finished Week 1 of the Micro Games with a 3-9-7 gold-silver-bronze haul for sixth place in the medal tally. Guam is still on top with its 26-12-12, followed by Palau (24-9-11) and Pohnpei (10-20-13).

Meanwhile, the ocean swim competition will conclude today with the staging of the relay event.

Sweep for CNMI in baseball
The Commonwealth was undefeated in the elimination round after a 10-5 victory over Yap last Friday.

The CNMI National Baseball Team will enter today’s semifinal game with a 4-0 record. The Patrick Tenorio Sr.-managed squad will duel Kosrae at 4pm for the first finals slot.

Kosrae took the No. 2 seed, going into the playoffs after pulling off a 10-2 upset over Palau. Kosrae finished the elims with a 3-1 mark, while Palau had an even 2-2 record and must win against Pohnpei (1-3) in the first game today at 1pm to keep its medal hopes alive. The winner of the Pohnpei-Palau tiff will face the loser of the CNMI-Kosrae match tomorrow for the second and last finals ticket. The playoff round was supposed to start last Saturday, but matches were moved today due to rain.

V-ball squad searches for elusive win
The CNMI men’s volleyball team returns to action today when it takes on Chuuk in the 5pm game.

The Commonwealth spikers are hoping to make it to the win column to remain in contention. They dropped their first three matches, losing to Kiribati in their debut match last Thursday, 10-25, 15-25, 17-25. Yap and Palau also defeated the CNMI, 25-16, 23-25, 25-17, 25-19 and 25-14, 25-23, 25-12.

With its 0-3 record, the CNMI is at the bottom of the team standings. Guam, as of press time last night, leads the field with its 3-0 card, followed by Chuuk (2-1), Kiribati (2-1), Pohnpei (2-1), Yap (1-3), and Palau (1-2). Only the Top 4 teams after the round-robin play will advance to the medal round.

Men’s basketball team makes playoffs
The men’s basketball squad moved into the playoff round after beating Yap last Friday, 82-69.

However, the Elias Rangamar-coached crew missed a semis berth when it was defeated by the Marshall Islands in the quarterfinals last Saturday, 97-81. Palau, Guam, and Pohnpei were the other Final Four qualifiers.

In the women’s division, the CNMI finished fifth after downing Yap in the consolation match, 69-44.

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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