Saipan Paddling Club will only compete in the men’s division of the 19th Micronesia Cup that will be held in Guam.
SPC president and coach Justin Andrew confirmed to Saipan Tribune that the club will field a six-man crew in the tournament that will run from Oct. 26 to 29 at Matapang Beach in Tamuning.
“A lean and strong crew, we hope,” said Andrew, who is part of the squad and will be joined by his son Joshua, Carter Calma, Benusto Olopai, Icemwar Somorang, and Jay Limes.
The SPC paddlers have been training four times a week in the last three months in preparation for the Micro Cup.
“We are training hard and have added one more day on the water. We have also incorporated some land-based training to supplement our canoe paddling water time,” Justin said.
The six-man SPC team will be racing in the 500m, 1,000m, and long distance (10-mile course) events. The preliminary, semis, and finals of the 1,000m race will be held on Oct. 27, while the 500m is set for Oct. 28, and the long distance will take place on Oct. 29.
SPC paddlers joined the 500m event in last year’s Micro Cup held in Palau and they missed the semifinals. Marianas Outrigger Club won the sprint with a time of 2:08.56, beating Belau Kanua Club Waterfall, Taotao Galaide Ma’aksom, PCC Mesekiu 3, IFIT, and PCC Mesekiu 1. In the long distance, SPC was ranked fifth out of the 13 teams that completed the 10-mile course after checking in at 1:34:56. MOC also ruled the long distance event (1:28:46), while Hong Kong United (1:31:05) and PCC Mesekiu 3 (1:32:07) rounded out the Top 3.
SPC is expected to face the same squads from Palau, Hong Kong, and the hosts, plus the paddlers from Japan and the Federated States of Micronesia, in the 2017 edition of the Micro Cup.
Meanwhile, SPC will participate in three more local events to warm-up for the October tournament. The club will compete in the Northern Marianas National Paddling Sports Federation-organized races on Sept. 17 (distance), Oct. 7 (sprints), and Oct. 8 (distance).