(NMBA) —  The Northern Marianas Badminton Association will have its first competition of the 2021 season with the staging of the TanHoldings Badminton Team Tournament next month at the TSL Sports Complex.

Registration is ongoing for the June 5 and 6 tournament and interested players who will represent NMBA’s five clubs will be allowed to compete in the men’s and women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles events. So far, more than 50 players have signed up and deadline for registration is June 1. Sign up forms are available at the NMBA Gymnasium of the TSL Sports Complex.

NMBA vice president Nate Guerrero said registration for the TanHoldings and Tan Siu Lin Foundation-sponsored event is free and they would want to bring players back into the court and experience competition-level matches after the absence of regular tournaments for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The last NMBA event was the IT&E Badminton Tournament in February 2020.

NMBA president Merlie Tolentino said the season-opening competition will give the association the opportunity to drum up interest for the 2022 Pacific Mini Games where badminton is one of nine events on the sports program. Tournaments like this will also help NMBA prepare on 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,” the NMBA president said.

The TanHoldings Badminton Team Tournament will also provide national players training for the Mini Games actual matches they must play to gauge the level of their readiness for the regional competition and see what they need to improve on.

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