The CNMI National Tennis Team got the well-deserved recognition from Northern Marianas Sports Association after dominating the monthly awards handed for July.
The squad, which won three gold medals and a silver in the XVI Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa last month, was named Team of the Month, while three of its members also received individual recognition. The Commonwealth’s tennis players got the votes for the group and individual awards from NMSA members last night during the association’s monthly meeting at the conference room of the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Colin Sinclair was the hands down winner of the Male Athlete of the Month award for ruling the singles, men’s team event, and mixed doubles events in the Pacific Games. Sinclair secured the triple crown after surviving more than 10 games in the last three days of the tennis competition. In the final day of the tournament alone, the world No. 52 (ITF rankings) played four matches, starting off with the singles finale, followed by the men’s doubles title game, the continuation of the mixed doubles semis, and then the championship match with Carol Lee.
“Colin was the most dominant tennis player in the Pacific Games. He never came close to losing a set in the singles event,” said Jeff Race, the proud coach of the team, in his nomination letter for Sinclair.
Race could not make it to the NMSA meeting last night, as he went straight from Samoa to Fiji to coach the CNMI Juniors National Team in the 2019 Pacific Oceania Junior Championships. He sent Northern Mariana Islands Tennis Association’s nomination letter way ahead of the NMSA meeting and right away, Race received support and congratulatory messages from other sports federations.
“Thanks to all. We are all very proud to have represented the CNMI and brought back medals. I got a little teary eyed when the flag was raised and they played the anthem,” Race said.
Meanwhile, Lee and Robbie Schorr were voted Tan Siu Lin Foundation/NMSA Female and Male Athlete of the Month for their triumphs in Samoa. Schorr partnered with Sinclair, winning a silver medal in the men’s doubles, and then worked with the former and Ken Song in ruling the team event. Lee, on the other hand, held her ground and complemented Sinclair in beating No. 1 seed Abigail Tere-Apisah and Matthew Stubbings of Papua New Guinea in the mixed doubles finals. Lee also made it to the quarterfinals of the singles and women’s doubles and finished fifth in the team event with Tania Tan, Isabel Heras, and Malika Miyawaki.
“Throughout the team competition, Robbie showed remarkable poise for a 17-year-old against more experienced opponents, particularly in the medal rounds,” Race said.
“Carol won the gold medal in mixed doubles with Colin in what was the most thrilling NMI match of the Games. Playing for gold against singles gold medalist Abby Tere-Apisah and silver medalist Matthew Stubbings of PNG, Carol keyed the super tiebreaker comeback from 5-7 down with aggressive net play to win 10-8 and secure the gold,” Race added.