Jerry Tan praises CNMI athletes
Northern Marianas Sports Association president Jerry Tan not only acknowledged and praised the athletes who made the CNMI proud during the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, but also commended the athletes who have represented their islands and competed abroad.
During the 2022 NMSA Annual Sports Award Banquet last March 7 at the Hibiscus Hall of the Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan, Tan gave his remarks before awards were apresented to the top athletes and sports organizations.
In a slideshow presentation, nine countries that CNMI athletes have traveled to and competed in from June 2022 to March 2023 were shown: Guam, Australia, Fiji, Hungary, U.S., Jordan, Palestine, New Zealand, and Peru. Wimbledon in the U.K. wasn’t in the slideshow but it was mentioned by tennis coach Jeff Race—which Tan acknowledged.
Along with the countries were the 19 tournaments in which CNMI athletes participated from the nine sports of athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, soccer, swimming, tennis, triathlon, and weightlifting.
Tan said, “it’s pretty cool to see that these are the countries that some of you competed in. When I see this list, I get emotional because we live on a small island and have the opportunity to be able to represent Team NMI. Many of the athletes are the youth—they are still in high school—and have already had the opportunity to represent the NMI, to carry our flag and compete in their respective sports.”
He added, “We promote sports. We want everyone to continue playing and also encourage more youth to come out. That’s why the interscholastic program is very important. They start in elementary all the way to high school. And I just want to say thank you to all the 19 sports federations that are here. NMSA is the governing body, but what you see is really not NMSA’s work—it is the national federations’ work from every sport.”
“Nine sports got to compete in the Mini Games and there’s others that may have the opportunity to compete in the upcoming Micronesian Games in July, and the Pacific Games in November… and that’s why we want to recognize your federations because preparation is not easy. We want you to know that we recognize your efforts across all sports, for all the local competitions, as well as the regional competitions,” said Tan.
In June, the women’s and men’s NMI National Basketball Team competed in the FIBA Micronesian Cup in Guam; NMI Athletic’s Team competed in the Oceania Athletics Championship in Australia; the NMI Junior National Tennis Team competed in the North Pacific Regional Championships in Guam; the NMI National Swim Team competed in the 16th FINA World Championships in Budapest Hungary.
In July, the NMI Junior National Tennis Team represented the North Pacific in the Pacific Oceania Junior Championships in Fiji; and Zarinae Sapong competed in the 2022 World Athletics Championship in Oregon.
September saw the return of the NMI U20 National Soccer Team at the Asian Football Confederation U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Amman, Jordan, and the NMI National Swim Team were at it again at the FINA Junior World Championships—this time in Peru.
October saw the NMI U15 National Basketball teams at the FIBA U15 Oceania Championships in Guam; the NMI U17 Men’s National Soccer Team competed in the AFC U17 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Australia; and Denise Myers competed at the 2022 Oceania Cross Country Championships in Guam.
Myers was back at it again this time in Fiji for the 2022 Oceania Triathlon Pacific Island Championship in December; the NMI Cycling Team competed in the Oceania Cycling Confederation Pacific Cup in Guam; and the NMI National Swim Team competed in the 19th FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia.
This year in February, the NMI U15 National Badminton Team competed in the Pacific U15 Invitational Team Challenge in New Zealand, while the NMI Men’s and Women’s National Badminton Team competed in the Victor Oceania Championships also in New Zealand; Tania Tan and Sildrey Veloria competed in the World Cross Country Championship in Australia; and the NMI Weightlifting Team competed in the Guam Olympic Weightlifting Competition.
And just last week, the NMI Women’s U20 National Soccer Team took on the AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers in Palestine.
The banquet awarded the 2022 Male Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, Student Athletes of the Year, the CNMI Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Teams of the Year, Administrators of the Year, Coaches of the Year, and Athletes and Teams of the Month for the respective months in 2022.