Northern Marianas Badminton Association (NMBA) are relishing the opportunities to play badminton after they were allowed to return to the courts earlier this year.
In June, they hosted the first tournament of 2021 (the TanHoldings Badminton Team Tournament) in an effort to raise awareness and increase excitement for the Northern Marianas 2022 Pacific Mini Games, where badminton is part of the programme.
This month, they have partnered with the Tan Siu Lin Foundation and Saipan Soccer School to widen their sports offering at the ‘SSS Sumer Sports Camp 2021’, introducing Shuttle Time as another way for the kids to stay active.
Every day throughout the camp in July, an average of 20 children aged between 8-18 are opting in to partake in Shuttle Time sessions – an activity which has been proven to enhance fundamental skills and executive functions in schoolchildren.
The organisers aimed to diversify their sports programme beyond football – which is where NMBA stepped in.
“We have a superb team of knowledgeable and experienced officials and volunteers that were able to deliver Shuttle Time lessons to participants, especially those who were looking to try badminton for the first time”, says NMBA President, Merlie Tolentino
“It is a particularly good way to inspire the next generation and start creating the legacy which will follow next year’s Pacific Mini Games”, Merlie continued.
One participant in particular, Kaithlyn Chavez (14 years old) was ecstatic to pick up a racket for the first time:
“At this camp, I am able to play every day, so I can learn a lot and improve my skills since I am new to the sport. I was hoping to learn how to play tennis this summer but I am happy that badminton is on the programme instead. The free Shuttle Time sessions are free and somehow similar to what I thought tennis might be like, so I am very happy”, says Kaithlyn.
The month-long summer school will culminate with a mini tournament, with members of the national team from the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games contributing to the delivery of the sessions along the way and certificates and prizes on offer for the winners.
Follow their progress on the Northern Marianas Badminton Association Facebook page.