DESPITE the many challenges it has faced and is facing, the Northern Marianas Table Tennis Federation is still eager to participate in the South Pacific Mini Games next year.
Formerly known as the Marianas Amateur Table Tennis Association, the local sports group participated in the Mini Games in Palau in 2005 and brought home the bronze medal.
In the 2006 Micronesian Games hosted by Saipan, the CNMI team won gold, silver and bronze medals in the men’s and women's divisions.
In the 2010 Micronesian Games in Palau, the CNMI team won gold medals in the men's single, double and team competitions.
Due to funding problems, however, the CNMI’s table tennis team was not able to participate in the Micronesian Games in Pohnpei in 2014. The group also missed the Micronesian Games in Yap in 2018. Most of the CNMI team players were here on CW-1 permits and could not leave the island because the extension of the CW program was still pending in the U.S. Congress.
Federation coordinator Budhiman Gurung said since the Mini Games are going to take place on Saipan next year, they have been pushing for the inclusion of table tennis.
He said their group has been practicing three to five times a week since January after 10 months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The men’s team currently has six players: Cheng Bin, Liu Fuliang, Song Zhen Liu, Jayrold Villacrusis, Iekhyun Ahn and Gurung.
He said they are also trying to form a women’s team.
For more information, call Budhiman Gurung at 484-5099.