The Northern Marianas Badminton Association (NMBA) hosted its first competition of the 2021 season last weekend, at the TSL Sports Complex.
More than 50 players signed up to compete in the TanHoldings Badminton Team Tournament, which involed mixed teams comepting across all five disciplines.
In an effort to attract new talent and celebrate the freedom to play after COVID-19s sever disruption to their badminton calendar (having had no tournaments for over a year), NMBA vice president Nate Guerrero said that they made registration completely free.
Meanwhile, NMBA president Merlie Tolentino explained that the season-opening competition will give the association an opportunity to drum up interest for the 2022 Pacific Mini Games.
Badminton is one of eight sports on offer in the Northern Marianas 2022 Pacific Games programme. Not only could the tournament help NMBA inspire players to take part or spectate, but they could also prepare for the logistics and technical aspects of the hosting of the Mini Games.
“We will be needing volunteers, technical staff, referee, and umpires for the 2022 Pacific Mini Games and the series of tournaments that we are planning for this year and next will allow us to build local capacity that is very crucial in our efforts to successfully host the badminton tournament in the Mini Games,” said Merlie.
Finally, the TanHoldings Badminton Team Tournament is the chance the current national team players have been waiting for. Since competing in the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games, the team have been itching to get back on court. In 2019, the team said that they were relying on YouTube videos to coach themselves for the Games. Now the player are able to gauge their level of their readiness once again and buckle down for the regional competition next year.