The CNMI Badminton Team silenced the home crowd with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Samoa, as competitions in the XVI Pacific Games kicked off yesterday.
Andreau Galvez and Janelle Pangilinan played first for the Commonwealth and swept Charles Faalogoifo and Folole Ioane in the mixed doubles, 21-17, 21-17. The debuting CNMI crew then went 2-0 after Nicole Malasarte topped Lizzie Caffarelli in the women’s singles, 22-20, 25-23. Tupu Fua’s 21-13, 21-18 victory over Daniel Macario put Samoa on the board, but the CNMI sealed the win in the next game when Jordan Pangilinan teamed up with Nathan Guerrero in downing Faalogoifo and Aukuso Sue in the men’s doubles play, 21-14, 21-18.
“When the team started winning, I felt even more motivated to win. It felt good to seal the victory against the home team,” Guerrero said.
For the last match in the CNMI-Samoa pairing, Malasarte and Pangilinan completed the visiting team’s domination of the host with a come-from-behind 20-22, 21-14, 21-14 triumph over Ioane and Peta Teo.
The CNMI’s win on Day 1 of the badminton tournament was featured in Oceania Badminton website.
Oceania Badminton reported how the “self-sufficient” team managed to compete in Samoa and make a mark in the opening day of the competition. The squad, which was formed by Northern Marianas Badminton Association, had limited training time for the Games after Saipan was hammered by Super Typhoon Yutu and relied on YouTube tutorials and other websites to sharpen their skills.
“We don’t have an official coach, so we look to YouTube, Facebook, we just try to see what they are doing and incorporate it into our own games,” Ezekiel Macario was quoted as saying by Oceania Badminton.
Meanwhile, before facing Samoa, the CNMI, which is playing in the Pacific Games for the first time, debuted against the highly favored Tahiti. The No. 1 seed cruised to a 5-0 victory, while Fiji handed the Commonwealth its second loss in the final pairing on Day 1.
In other results in the team event, Tahiti routed Kiribati and Tonga in similar scores, 4-1, for the early lead in the seven-squad field. Fiji is in second place with a 2-0 mark, as it also hammered Tonga, 5-0. New Caledonia matched Fiji’s 2-0 slate after beating Kiribati, 4-1, and Tonga, 5-0. Samoa battled back from its opening loss to the CNMI after edging Kiribati, 3-2.
The team event has a round-robin format and the CNMI is still very much in the medal race with three games left in its schedule. Today, Guerrero and company will take on New Caledonia at 10am (7am Saipan time) and Kiribati at 3pm. The Commonwealth bets will close out its pool play assignments tomorrow when they face Tonga at 10am.
Swimmers, spikers debut; tennis rained-out
Sophia Gauran, Jinju Thompson, David Boyer, and Lennosuke Suzuki completed the 5-kilometer open water swim at the Mulifanua Sheraton Beach Resort. Thompson placed No. 8, while Gauran was ranked No. 9, and Suzuki and Boyer finished No. 10 and 11, respectively (official times were unavailable at press time).
Tahiti’s Rahiti De Vos won the gold in the men’s division and the Pacific Games’ first after completing the race in 1:03:30. New Caledonia took the silver and bronze after Hugo Savignac and Benoit Riviere clocked in at 1:03:21 and 1:03:41, respectively.
In the women’s division, 2015 winner Charlotte Robin of New Caledonia had a repeat after finishing the event in 1:10:40. New Caledonia also got the silver, as Maiana Flament (1:11:41) came in ahead of Fiji’s Matelita Buadromo (1:19:27).
From open water swim, Thompson, Boyer, Suzuki, Gauran, Aika Watanabe, and Juhn Tenorio head to the Samoa Aquatic Centre today for the preliminary races.
Gauran is on Heat 1 of the 200m breaststroke event, while Suzuki and Boyer are on Heats 1 and 4, respectively, in the 50m butterfly qualifiers. Thompson will also race in the 50m butterfly and is on Heat 3, while Tenorio lines up on Heat 1 of the 200m backstroke event. Watanabe will debut, too, in the 200m backstroke and is on Heat 2, while Thompson is competing on Heat 1 of the same event.
Meanwhile, Tyce and Logan Mister were beaten in two sets by Papua New Guinea’s Richard Batari and Loi Walo, 21-17, 21-7, at the Apia Waterfront.
The CNMI bets will play anew today and they will duel Tuvalu, which was defeated by Kiribati, 2-1. The Misters are in Pool A and will compete in a round-robin format in the eliminations. The Top 3 teams from the four groups will advance to the Round of 12 and then the competition will be down to eight squads and both rounds will have a single-elimination format.
In other Day 1 results, only two matches were played in tennis due to rain.
The CNMI’s Isabel Heras lost to Samoa’s Eleanor Schuster, 0-6, 4-6, in the first singles play.
PNG won over the Cook Islands in the other singles match.
The CNMI-Samoa game will resume today with Carol Lee battling Steffi Carruthers in the other singles match. A Lee victory will bring the team event game to a deciding doubles play where the opposing teams will bank of the same four players.
In the men’s team event, the CNMI’s game against Kiribati has been rescheduled and instead, Colin Sinclair, Ken Song, and Robbie Schorr will challenge the Solomon Islands bets today.