Seven pairs were crowned champions as badminton action returned over the weekend with the Northern Marianas Badminton Association organizing the 12th Year Badminton Tournament at the TSL Sports Complex.
Ichiro Borja, Windy Fernandez, and Irish Pagarao gained two titles each in the doubles events to lead the list of winners in NMBA’s inaugural tournament for the year that was sponsored by TanHoldings.
Ichiro teamed up with older brother Taka in ruling the men’s CC division as they posted a 15-21, 21-14, 11-4 win over the tandem of Tommy Kim and Vince Reyes. The younger Borja then partnered with Irish Pagarao in clinching the mixed doubles CC title following their 21-19, 21-12 decision over his brother and Lanie Santos in Sunday’s finale.
Pagarao earlier won the women’s BC crown when she teamed up with Vilma Reyes in completing a masterful 21-8, 21-5 triumph against Merlie Tolentino and Carline Sablan.
Sablan bounced back in the women’s CC division finals, as she paired up with Yoko Borja in beating Pagarao and Julia Espino, 21-12, 21-16..
Fernandez played in the mixed doubles event, first joining Joseph Torres in claiming the AB division crown following their 21-15, 21-14 finals win over the pair of Riman and Loyda Ito. Fernandez then added the BB title, teaming up with Eric Pena in completing a 21-10, 21-15 triumph over Ito and Eydie Uy.
Riman was victorious in the men’s BB division and together with Brian Valenton they downed Pena and Oh Im Bog in the finals, 21-9, 21-14,
NMBA followed a knockout system format instead of the usual round-robin play and its president Tolentino said that the tournament was part of their preparation for the 2021 Pacific Mini Games that Saipan will be hosting.
“We need the players, especially the youth, to get accustomed to the knockout format. Some tournaments in other places are one-and-done,” said Tolentino.
She added that they are looking for youngsters who are interested in learning the sport. Tolentino said youth players would undergo training with veteran players who are eligible to play for the CNMI in the Mini Games three years from now.
“We still have time to prepare our CNMI team for the Mini Games,” the NMBA head said.
Interested youth can get in touch with any NMBA officer at the badminton gym for more information.