NMI to host 2 Paris Olympic qualifiers
Badminton Oceania and Northern Marianas Badminton Association are delighted to announce the addition of two new International Challenge tournaments to the BWF Calendar in 2023, taking place back-to-back in June.
First up is the Northern Marianas Open 2023, which will be held at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium from June 6 to 11. The second one is the Saipan International 2023, which is scheduled for June 13 to 18.
Earlier this year, the Northern Marianas hosted the 2022 Pacific Mini Games and badminton was one of nine sports included in the multi-sport program. Two NMI players—Janelle Pangilinan and Jenine Savellano—delighted the home crowd as they collected a historic first Pacific Games medal in badminton (bronze in the women’s doubles), while a network of local personnel was upskilled in event management, administration, umpiring, and line judging.
The combined efforts have allowed a legacy to transpire through these tournaments, which could see local players competing on the international stage (wildcard prospects) for the first time, further opportunities for the local workforce in officiating and events, alongside a chance for residents to witness world-class badminton—made even more exciting by the fact that both tournaments fall within the Paris 2024 Olympic Games qualification period, which starts on May 1, 2023.
The Northern Mariana Islands is a territory of the United States, sitting within Micronesia—a collection of islands in the northwest region of Oceania, also including Guam (another member association of Badminton Oceania), Palau, the Marshall Island and the Federated States of Micronesia.
“This is a fantastic development for our Pacific region and it is exciting to see our long-term goal, to host an international tournament in the region outside of Australia or New Zealand, come to life. To have two back-to-back tournaments in less than a year since hosting the Pacific Mini Games is an incredible legacy achievement. It is also testament to the highly motivated and organized team at Northern Marianas Badminton Association who have inspired several pathways to grow the sport across their country,” Badminton Oceania CEO Julie Carrel said.
Some of Badminton Oceania’s technical officials and staff attended the Pacific Mini Games and Carrel said they were all thoroughly impressed by the high standards imposed throughout the Games. She added that Badminton Oceania cannot wait for more opportunities to collaborate and welcome players from all over the world to this unique part of Oceania.
Meanwhile, NMBA president Merlie Tolentino said the NMI badminton community is excited to host the two international competitions.
“After we made history in June this year by hosting the Pacific Mini Games and winning the NMI’s first medal in a regional competition, the NMBA is highly motivated to ride on this momentum and make more accomplishments for NMI badminton. Now, with two BWF-sanctioned tournaments scheduled to take place in our island next year, we are looking at reaching more milestones.
We will be the first in Micronesia to host a BWF event. We are again presented with the opportunity to witness high-level competitions, while our own athletes will also have a chance to challenge highly skilled players. Additionally, hosting the Northern Marianas Open and Saipan International will support the NMI’s sports tourism campaign, as we are looking to welcome players and officials from the Pacific, Oceania, Asia, and hopefully from some other continents too,” Tolentino said.
“Thank you Badminton Oceania for helping us bring these prestigious competitions to the NMI. We are excited and honored with this great opportunity and are looking forward to getting support from our community as we work together in hosting another successful sports event and showcasing our island hospitality,” Tolentino added.
Both tournaments will join Badminton Oceania’s reputable collection of Grade Three tournaments, including the North Harbour International 2023 (Oct. 25-29) and others which will be announced soon.
Also scheduled to take place in Oceania next year are two HSBC BWF World Tour tournaments—Australia Open 2023 (Super 500, from Aug. 1 to 6) and New Zealand Open 2023 (Super 300, from Aug. 8 to 13).
Keep up to date with the latest information by following us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BOC.badminton and visiting the 2023 Events page on our website https://badmintonoceania.org/. (PR)