Swimming, basketball appreciative of incentive
Athletes who saw action outside of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 but still got monetary incentives for representing the CNMI in recent competitions are appreciative of the gesture.
CNMI national swimming coach Richard Sikkel said he and his swimmers—Juhn Tenorio, Taiyo Akimaru, Jinie Thompson, and Maria Batallones—that suited up in the 2022 FINA World Championship are happy with the cash reward.
“It is very encouraging to see this level of financial support for all sports from NMSA and the CNMI government. The recent improvements in infrastructure are also promising for the future of and the level of sports played in the CNMI. I know the swimmers and coaches were not expecting any financial incentives, that’s not what drives us, but it is very much appreciated,” he said.
CNMI national men’s basketball coach Joe Diaz said while he and his players weren’t expecting any monetary incentives, they’re happy to have been included in the windfall just the same.
“First I really want to thank our Northern Mariana Islands Basketball Federation board members. I was so shocked that we are included in the incentive and our players were so happy to also be included in this. Personally, I do want to thank [Gov. Ralph DLG Torres] for this incentive.”
He added that next in his wishlist is a national training center not only for national players of basketball but also other sports teams representing the CNMI in off-island tournaments.
For Catherine Attao-Toves, CNMI women’s national basketball coach, she and her wards are grateful for the cash incentive doled out by the government during the Team NMI Celebration Dinner held earlier this month at Kensington Hotel Saipan.
“With the incentives being extended to the Micro Cup athletes, we were quite surprised. We were just grateful that we were invited to attend the banquet and be a part of Team NMI’s celebration.”
Attao-Toves added that the CNMI women’s national basketball team is very excited with the efforts in developing sports facilities in the CNMI.
“As we prepared for the Micro Cup, we were challenged with a venue as many of our gyms were preparing for the Pacific Mini Games. We are very grateful for the opportunity to use the TSL Gym at REM Center. With the success that the fellow sports federations had at the Pacific Mini Games, the NMIBF Women’s Program is committed to continue its growth and strive to be a medal contender for the 2023 Micronesia Games. Therefore, we look forward to the improvements of our facilities and raising the standard of competitive basketball within the CNMI.”
The CNMI men’s national basketball team won bronze and the women silver in the 2022 FIBA Micronesian Cup held in early June in Guam.
Aside from athletes in the 2022 FINA World Cup and 2022 FIBA Micronesian Cup, participants of the 2022 Oceania Athletics Championships in Mackay, Australia also were given monetary incentives by the Torres administration.