After their historic feat last year, Marianas Outrigger Canoe paddlers are “marked men” in the 2017 Micro Cup that will be held in Guam this late October.
“We are under the radar before, now we are the ‘target’ and that situation will make it harder to duplicate what we achieved last year,” MOC coach Dino Manning said.
MOC swept the 500m and 1,500m sprints and the long distance race (12 miles) of the 2016 Micro Cup, becoming the first team in the history of the longest running outrigger canoe competition in Micronesia to rule all three events in the men’s open division.
“After last year’s tournament, everybody knows who we are and what we are capable of. Guam, Palau, and other teams that will participate in the 2017 Micro Cup are definitely doing their best in preparing against us for this year’s races,” the MOC coach said.
Being the focal point of the 2017 Micro Cup has added pressure in MOC paddlers’ bid to defend their title in the three events and to manage high expectations, the club’s members are working extra hard in their training sessions.
Manning said MOC paddlers train in the water three to four times a week, having short course sessions on weekdays and long course on weekends. They also hold land-based training to improve their endurance, strength, and speed. Some members are also working out at the various gyms on island to supplement the training they are doing as a group.
As for warm-up races for the Micro Cup, MOC just finished ruling a long distance course event organized by Northern Marianas National Paddling Sports Federation. The group will also compete in the second leg of the NMNPSF-sanctioned races on Sept. 16, while a six-man crew will head to Guam for another pre-Micro Cup event set for Sept. 9.
In the Micro Cup, Manning said they are eyeing to send two men’s teams. They kept the core of the squad that dominated last year’s competition and have several newcomers.
Meanwhile, besides MOC, other Saipan teams expected to join the Micro Cup that will be held from Oct. 26 to 29 are Napu Outrigger Canoe Club, Saipan Paddling Club, and Marianas Pacific Paddlers.