When XVI Pacific Games participant Nate Guerrero came to play at the Northern Marianas Badminton Association’s courts at the TSL Sports Complex, a “brand new” facility greeted him and other players.
The facility went through major renovation after sustaining massive damage from Super Typhoon Yutu in October last year. A new flooring was installed, along with the lights and nets. Roofing at the sports complex has been fixed, too, making the badminton facility safe and ready for competitions and practices.
“I was thrilled to see the renovations/improvements in the facility, especially the synthetic flooring. After Yutu, we’re not able to play for months and it’s tough because we are getting ready for the Samoa Pacific Games then,” Guerrero said.
“When we started practicing, the roof is leaking, so it’s still not safe to play. Now, we have a safe and pretty facility and we would like to thank the NMBA leadership for giving us an even better court. I am sure more people will be encouraged to play, especially the kids because we now have a much improved facility,” the CNMI Badminton Team captain said.
NMBA president Merlie Tolentino said that major repairs at the facility were completed early this month.
“We are pleased to inform our members that they can now play at the NMBA courts. We are also planning to hold a tournament before the year ends, so we can have something for our players and resume our program,” Tolentino said.
Besides the local competition, NMBA will also participate in the Badminton Invitational Guam 2019, which is set from Oct. 11 to 13 at the John F. Kennedy High School Gymnasium. The Guam tournament will feature competitions in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles in U17 age group, open division, and class C (recreational)
According to Tolentino, 14 players have committed to play in Guam, including the members of the CNMI Team that saw action in the XVI Pacific Games in Samoa last July. Joining Guerrero on the national squad that finished fifth in the team event were Andreu Galvez, Nicole Malasarte, Janelle and Jordan Pangilinan, and Daniel and Ezekiel Macario. The seven CNMI bets also played in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles events against the host island, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tahiti, and Tonga, making a respectable debut in the Pacific Games.
Meanwhile, the re-opening of the NMBA court was one of the important steps the association has taken in its bid to revive the sport, as the CNMI prepares for the hosting of the 2021 Pacific Mini Games.
Badminton is one of the events lined up for the Mini Games, joining athletics, baseball, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon on the short list.