The Northern Marianas National Paddle Sports Federation has concluded its tryouts for the CNMI National Outrigger Canoe Team for next year’s Pacific Mini Games and has selected 24 paddlers—12 men and 12 women—for the national paddling team.
NMNPSF president Justin Andrew said the umbrella organization of all va’a clubs in the CNMI has submitted the names of the successful paddlers to emerge from the training pool to the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games Organizing Committee.
“We have concluded our tryout phase. We have our final 14 men and 14 women. I’m preparing a report to Pacific Mini Games Organizing Committee and Northern Marianas Sports Association to inform them of our final roster of men and women. We are now transitioning to the training phase,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Andrew also said the surge of COVID-19 cases in the community has affected NMNPSF’s training for the Mini Games.
“The rise in COVID-19 cases has affected us. We have to implement va’a-specific measures to help with the rise in COVID-19 cases. We asked our athletes to make sure that they get tested if someone close to them at home and at work tests positive and not come to training until a negative result is reported. We are also closely monitoring the rise in cases and will make adjustments as we go. We cannot stop training, but we are prepared to make that decision should the rise in COVID-19 cases warrants a drastic adjustments in our training program,” he said.
Saipan Paddling Club, Napu Outrigger Canoe Club, Marianas Outrigger Club, and Marianas Pacific Paddlers make up the clubs under the NMNPSF.
At 294 athletes, va’a has so far the most athletes confirmed for next year’s Mini Games. It was originally not included in the calendar of sports events for next year’s Mini Games.
The CNMI was only expected to host six events—athletics, badminton, baseball, beach volleyball, golf, and triathlon—as a condition for pushing through with the quadrennial following the devastation brought about by Super Typhoon Yutu in 2018.
Later on, the administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres asked the Pacific Games Council to add another three sports events—va’a, tennis, and weightlifting—to increase the sports calendar of the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 to nine.