Northern Marianas arrived in Apia, Samoa with high spirits and an eagerness to learn as the badminton team take part in their first Pacific Games.
The team are amongst six others competing in the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games Mixed Team event from Monday 8 – Wednesday 10 July 2019.
Many players are regulars in their local clubs, but their international experience barely goes beyond the realms of neighbouring country, Guam.
“We have only played in Guam where we also get to compete with players form the Philippines as they are invited to compete with us”, says Janelle Pangilinan.
Unlike most other teams competing in Samoa, Northern Marianas are self-sufficient. With no official coach to lead them in training and guide from the rear court, the team take it upon themselves to motivate each other and share their valuable knowledge.
“This event was quite last minute for us…I’m hoping to win also, but to gain a lot of experience and bring it back home so can teach others”, says Janelle Pangilinan.
The Macario brothers, Ezekiel and Daniel, elaborate on the unpredictable weather and lack of experience coaches within the region that hinders the progress of aspiring players.
“We don’t have an official coach, so we look to YouTube, Facebook, we just try to see what they are doing and incorporate it into our own games”, says Ezekiel Macario
“We also had a typhoon hit us earlier this year which closed our gym for a while, which didn’t give us long to train together as a team”, says Daniel Macario
Despite all these barriers, the team showed us that true grit and determination is all it takes to take the victory after an inspiring performance against the home team on day one of competition.
The team were defeated by the first seeds (Tahiti) 5-0, before tackling Samoa on their home turf in the afternoon. They didn’t let the vocal home crowd disrupt their flow and went on to win 4-1.
“When the team started winning, I felt even more motivated to win. The only thing I was worrying about was minimising errors which we did well in that game. It felt good to seal the victory for us against the home team”, says Nathan Guerrero
Follow the draw and all results of the Mixed Team event at the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games on Tournament Software.