NMI debuts vs New Caledonia


The NMI Junior National Badminton Team is leaving Saipan for New Zealand this weekend to compete in the Pacific U15 Invitation Team Challenge 2023.

Players Shaina Malonzo, Ruth Charmaine Bautista, Lina Tsukagoshi, Justin Gragasin, and Jude Mallari will be joined in Auckland by team manager and Northern Marianas Badminton Association general secretary Christy Villaflor. The young squad will have its first game on Feb. 10 against New Caledonia and they will play back-to-back matches on the opening day as they take on Tahiti next. Cook Islands, Guam, and Tonga are the other nations participating in the Pacific U15 Invitation Team Challenge 2023.

The five players made it to the junior national squad after undergoing a series of tryouts last year and training under Janelle Pangilinan, Nate Guerrero, and Ezekiel Macario. The three coaches are also part of the NMI delegation, as they will be attending a Badminton World Federation Level 1 Coaching Course that will coincide with the team competition, which will be held at the Massey University.

“We are excited for our young players as this will be their first time to play off-island in a badminton competition. Our players have significantly improved since they joined the tryouts and it also helped that they played in the interscholastic league. They are doing well in our training sessions and we hope that will translate into good games when they go out there and compete,” Pangilinan said.

After challenging New Caledonia and Tahiti on opening day, the NMI junior players will face Tonga and Cook Islands on Feb. 11, while their last match in the round-robin competition will be against Guam on Feb. 12.

“Since this is our first time to compete in this kind of tournament, our focus is to play our game and keep in mind the things and techniques that our coaches have been teaching us in our practice sessions,” Mallari said.

Meanwhile, NMBA president Merlie Tolentino wishes the NMI Junior National Badminton Team good luck and encourages them to represent the islands well on and off the badminton court and take all the lessons they will learn from the competition to get even better.

“Sending our players to off-island competitions is part of the NMBA’s efforts to continue the development of the sport in the NMI and provide opportunities for players and officials involved in the program. Being able to see and experience what the competition is like outside the NMI will give them the idea how to work on their games to catch or level up with their counterparts,” Tolentino said.

As for the three coaches, the NMBA said the course will be very helpful as when they return to Saipan they will be better equipped with the tools needed to deliver badminton lessons and share their knowledge to aspiring coaches. (PR)

Press Release
News under Press Release are official statements issued to Saipan Tribune giving information on a particular matter.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.