Swimmer Jinju Thompson will be extra motivated when she represents the CNMI in the 14th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in China next month.
“We, as a community have been through so much lately and despite that people are showing strength and that really motivates me to do my very best,” said Thompson, who was talking about the devastation that Super Typhoon Yutu left on Saipan.
“We hope that we will showcase that same strength while competing in China. We hope to make our community proud, and we will continue to pray for recovery as we race there,” the Saipan Swim Club added.
Thompson, along with Lennosuke Suzuki and Nelson Batallones will be competing in the short-course meet that will take place from Dec. 11 to 16 at the Hangzhou Olympic and International Expo Center in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.
“I feel very honored to have been selected to attend this swim meet. I would like to thank all the people that have supported our team,” said the Grace Christian Academy student, adding that preparation for the tournament in China is different and far more challenging, as the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool is still closed.
“With the pool being closed, we have faced a few obstacles. Training in the ocean has been hard, especially with weather conditions interfering with practice,” Thompson said.
The Marpi pool has been closed for over a month now and it is unlikely to be reopened soon, as the CNMI’s resources are now focused on recovery efforts after Yutu hit Saipan and Tinian. However, despite having no ideal venue for training, Thompson said they are sticking to the positives.
“But training in the ocean has given us challenges that we have used for our benefit. This swim meet is different than other meets we usually attend because this is one of the biggest swim meets of the year and there are world-class athletes that will be competing,” she said.
Around 1,000 athletes from 170 countries are participating in the short course meet.
“My teammates and I are excited and so thankful to be able to represent the CNMI. I hope that I swim fast and break personal bests. I would like to thank my parents for all that they have done for me, and my coach (Jacoby Winkfield) for helping me achieved this opportunity. He has taught me that it’s not always about winning and there are many other important things an athlete should consider. These include being encouraging towards others, showing good sportsmanship, and having positivity,” Thompson said.