Over 140 players to compete in badminton season opener

Posted on Mar 31 2023

A Tinian High School player gets ready to serve during the TakeCare Interscholastic Badminton League last month. Tinian players are among the more than 140 individuals who will compete in the Northern Marianas Badminton Association-sanctioned Tan Holdings Cup that will kick off this Thursday night at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

The Northern Marianas Badminton Association is opening its 2023 season with a bang as more than 140 players, including those from Guam and Tinian, will be competing in the Tan Holdings Cup.

The tournament, which Tan Holdings is sponsoring as part of its 50th anniversary celebration of serving the Micronesian region, kicked off with preliminary matches Thursday night and will have its opening ceremony today, Friday, at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. More than 100 players from Saipan will be joined by 16 delegates from Guam and 12 from Tinian in the four-day competition that will feature singles and doubles matches in the U15, U19, Open, and 45-and-above divisions. The tournament has 220 entries in the four divisions in the singles and doubles events.

“This is our first tournament of the season outside the interscholastic league and we are very excited to have this huge turnout, which has never happened in the history of badminton in the NMI. After our successful hosting of the Northern Marianas Pacific Games 2022 and the launching of our interscholastic program, it’s really great to see how many individuals have shown interest in our program,” NMBA president Merlie Tolentino said.

Of the more than 140 individuals, nearly half of them are part of the interscholastic league, as these young players are competing not just in the U15 and U19 age groups, but also in the open division.

“What a way to open our season with both our young and adult players competing against and with each other.  We are pleased with how the program is growing and drawing interest, not just from Saipan players, but also from Tinian,” said NMBA vice president Nate Guerrero, who is teaming up with youth player and Saipan International School student Lina Tsukagoshi in the mixed open doubles.

Tolentino added that young players will be gaining valuable experience playing with and against adults and also have the opportunity to challenge Guam and Tinian players. She expects the level of play in the U15 and U19 divisions to be a notch higher as evident in the close games in the recently concluded TakeCare Interscholastic Badminton League High School Division.

“The growth of our program and the boost in the level of play were made possible by the support from our stakeholders and the availability of equipment and venues for our competitions,” said Tolentino, who thanked Tan Holdings for sponsoring NMBA’s first event of the 2023 season, Badminton Oceania and Badminton World for the technical support, the CNMI Public School System, the Northern Marianas Sports Association, and the Tinian and Guam players for traveling and committing to the competition.

Last night’s matches started at 6pm., while Friday’s games will begin as early as 4pm, with the opening ceremony slated for 5:30pm. Saturday and Sunday matches will kick off at 8:30pm with the awards ceremony scheduled for 7:30pm on Sunday. (PR)

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