Badminton group considering Pacific Games participation

Jen Savellano and Almond Edralin wait for a shot from their opponents in the Northern Marianas Badminton Association-organized tournament at the TSL Sports Complex. (Jon Perez)

The Northern Marianas Badminton Association is considering sending athletes to the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa next year.

NMBA president Merlie Tolentino confirmed to Saipan Tribune the group’s interest in competing in the Pacific Games, which will take place from July 7 to 20 in Apia. Badminton, according to the revised schedule the organizers released early this month, will be played from July 8 to 13 at the Multicenter Faleata.

NMBA will release more details about its plan for the association’s possible debut in a regional tournament later, as it still needs to coordinate with Northern Marianas Sports Association to determine the eligibility rules and other requirements for the quadrennial event.

If the plan pushes through, NMBA can send as many as 12 athletes to next year’s competition, as the Pacific Games Council, during its general assembly in Samoa a couple of months ago, has approved to bring up the maximum team size for badminton, from 9 to 12.

The increase, according to the council, will enable all players to compete in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles event and maximize their value being at the Pacific Games.

NMBA’s possible appearance in next year’s tournament in Samoa will also help the group prepare for the 2021 Mini Games that Saipan will be hosting.

Badminton is one of the 27 sports under the XVI Pacific Games’ calendar of events. Also included on the list are archery, athletics, basketball (5×5 and 3×3, beach volleyball, boxing, cricket, football, gold, judo, lawn bowls, net ball, powerlifting, rugby 7’s, rugby 9’s, sailing, shooting, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, touch rugby, triathlon, vaa, volleyball, and weightlifting.

NMSA has asked its members to start fundraising for next year’s competition, while confirmation of their participation in the regional event is expected to be made before the year ends.

In 2015, when Papua New Guinea hosted the Pacific Games, the CNMI sent a small delegation to Port Moresby, as the Commonwealth bets competed only in swimming, vaa/canoe, triathlon, sailing, and beach volleyball.

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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