Lee eyes more NMI athletes in World Champs

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Rodney Camacho, left, and James Lee proudly show the CNMI flag as they pose for a photo before competing in the Obstacle Course Races World Championships 2019 in London last weekend. (Contributed Photo)

After representing the CNMI in the Obstacle Course Races World Championships in London last week, James Lee hopes to see more Commonwealth athletes compete in the annual event.

Lee along with Rodney Camacho made the CNMI the 68th nation that joined the OCR World Championships, as they completed the first day of the race.

“The CNMI is now officially the 68th nation to participate and I couldn’t be more proud of that. Next year, our CNMI jersey will be designed and sold globally by OCR World Championships, just the same as they did for Team Guam this year when they first participated last year. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to see our flag at the next world championships at the starting or finishing line. Hopefully then, I’ll be able to round up more athletes to participate,” Lee said.

“Though I wasn’t able to compete on Day 2 due to injury from Day 1 of the event, I feel that we had accomplished quite a bit. We not only represented our island when competing but also gained recognition half way across the world along with 67 other countries that were there. It was a bit surreal when we got applauded and cheered by both the athletes and audience when the announcer introduced CNMI to the crowd,” said Lee.

Lee explains that as an athlete, to finish even Day 1 of the race and complete each obstacle was an accomplishment and experience in itself.

“It was definitely more than I have ever expected. Being able to compete with thousands of people all over the world and not to mention against some of the world’s elite athletes was such a humbling experience. Being able to race at this level was a huge plus,” Lee said.

Although the journey was tough, Lee said the OCRWC debut gave him insights on what to do for next year’s competition. Most importantly, participating this year gives him the opportunity to pass on the knowledge to people who would like to participate in the sport.

“Prior to competing at the world championships, the only thing that helped me become familiar with some of the obstacles were through videos on YouTube, with some hands-on training at the Trench Challenge event and Asia Pacific OCR Championship. So, training-wise was based on that and assumptions on what I needed to work on. But the world championships was definitely at a whole different level,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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