Paddlers aim for better showing in Micro Cup


Marianas Pacific Paddlers members compete in the 500m race in last year’s Micronesian Cup at Matapang Beach in Guam. (Contributed Photo)

Marianas Outrigger Canoe paddlers negotiate a turn during last year’s Micronesian Cup at Matapang Beach in Guam. (Contributed Photo)

After competing in the 9th Micronesian Games in Yap, CNMI paddlers eye a much-improve performance in the 2019 Micronesian Cup that Saipan will be hosting this October.

“The Yap experience definitely gave us lessons that will impact how we train for future competitions, like the Micro Cup,” Northern Marianas Paddlesports Federation president Justin Andrew said. “The experience in Yap always adds to our learning pot—it’s a never ending learning for our paddlers and the Yap Games definitely added to their game and we will use the lessons learned to train better.”

Andrew coached the women’s team that won the bronze medal in the 1,500m race in last month’s Micro Games. The women’s squad was composed of Shelli Neal, Arielle Buyum, Kristine Falig, Maria Ornes, Elizabeth Tenorio, Victoria Camama Saures, Lorenza Aldan, and Mayiah Duenas and it was the first time since 2006 that the CNMI sent female paddlers in the quadrennial events.

The men’s team made up of Jose Quan, Rich Salas, James Lee, Bobby Cruz, Joshua Andrew, Billy Grow, Maverick Itibus, and coaches Jason Tarkong and Dino Manning, also got one medal (silver) after finishing second in the 15-mile race.

The Micro Games medalists are expected to suit up for their respective local clubs when Saipan hosts the Micro Cup from Oct. 26 to 28.

“For the Micro Cup, it’s now back to each club to train and represent their group and the CNMI as a whole. We are going to work hard for the stiff and fun competition Micro Cup races always bring. We are excited to be hosting the 20th year of Micronesian Cup,” the paddling group head said.

Meanwhile, Andrew took note of how the men’s and women’s teams worked hard for the competition in Yap.

“Our crew worked hard on the canoe and off the canoe. Off the canoe, workouts consisted of cardio and weights to build strong lungs and strong muscle. Our sport requires power and endurance and both workouts are a must for our athletes. On the canoe, getting the crew to blend and work on proper techniques was paramount—that included sets of sprints and doing distance runs that incorporated specific workouts to ensure our paddling athletes do best in the Games,” Andrew said.

Fahim Uddin

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