Northern Marianas Badminton Association’s Christy Villaflor has been certified as Badminton World Federation line judge, becoming the first NMI badminton official to earn the distinction.
“BWF certificated line judges were appointed taking into account technical official experience and certification, as well as to ensure worldwide balance and gender equity. The total number of BWF Certificated Line Judges is kept to a limit so as to provide, as much as possible, a reasonable number of invitations for duties over the term,” BWF Technical Official Commissioner chair Gilles Cavert said in a letter sent to Villaflor and NMBA president Merlie Tolentino.
Villaflor officiated matches in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022, including medal games. The NMSA general secretary was also in charge of forming a pool of local line judges for the Mini Games. She has attended various workshops under Badminton Oceania and Badminton World Federation and was co-league commissioner of the inaugural season of the Public School System Interscholastic Badminton League
“Christy and Taurea are Pacific umpires with aspirations to further their qualifications. This opportunity will enable them to attend and learn from the world’s biggest events, where they will be on court with the top umpires and players. Their appointment is testament to the increased technical officials training programs in the Pacific Islands, where we hope to see more representatives gaining BWF status in the future,” Badminton Oceania SG and chief executive officer Julie Carrel.
Villaflor and Tahiti’s Taurea Mara are two of the five BWF Line Judges from Oceania certified to attend games world wide from 2023 to 2026. The three other ones are Ravi Nandan, Lok Yun Loi, and Karen Arnold, who are all from Australia and the group will join five other Oceania officials earlier included in the 2021-2024 cycle.
Villaflor is honored with the certification and is excited for the more opportunities and the experience that come with her involvement in high-level competitions across the globe. More importantly, Villaflor is looking forward to sharing what she will learn from the BWF-sanctioned tournaments to fellow NMI line judges.
Meanwhile, Tolentino said that Villaflor’s BWF certification and other opportunities presented to the NMBA through the assistance of Badminton Oceania have significant impact to the association’s efforts in building local capacity not just in terms of developing players but also in creating a pool of technical officials.
“Line judges and umpires play a critical role in NMI badminton, especially now that we are strengthening our interscholastic program and trying to sustain momentum that we got from hosting the Pacific Mini Games to encourage more officials and players to try the sport. The NMBA is deeply grateful to Badminton Oceania and BWF for the support they are providing us to help grow badminton in the NMI,” Tolentino said. (PR)