Tinian Junior Senior High School principal Dionne Santos, standing third left, poses with students  during the donation turnover ceremony of badminton equipment for Tinian schools early this month in San Jose, Tinian. Also in the photo is Northern Marianas Badminton Association general secretary Christy Villaflor.

Contributed photo

TINIAN (NMBA) — Northern Marianas Badminton Association donated equipment to Tinian students as part of its continued efforts to introduce the sport in schools.

NMBA general secretary Christy Villaflor and national team players Nate Guerrero, Nicole Malasarte, Jordan and Janelle Pangilinan, and Ezekiel and Daniel Macario turned over 10 rackets and two sets of shuttlecock tubes each to Tinian Elementary School and Tinian Junior Senior High School early this month.

Dionne Santos, principal of Tinian Junior Senior High School, received the donation on behalf of the Stallions and Tinian Elementary School principal Lou Connie Manglona. Some Tinian Junior Senior High School joined Santos at the donation turnover ceremony on Feb. 6, as the event coincided with the Shuttle Time session that NMBA conducted at the Tinian Youth Center in San Jose.

“We’re extremely grateful to NMBA for this donation and for giving our students and our youth the opportunity to learn a new sport. We’ve been playing softball, baseball, basketball, and soccer here and the more sports we play, the better for our youth. We hope that this donation and the clinic [Shuttle Time] that NMBA conducted will kick start the potential of badminton on Tinian,” Santos said.

NMBA, through Badminton Oceania and Badminton World Federation, donated the equipment about a week after face-to-face classes resumed on the island, so Manglona said the timing is perfect.

“The donation of rackets and shuttlecocks from NMBA will greatly enhance our offerings of sports activities here at Tinian Elementary School. Our first grade teacher, Celina Farrell, an avid badminton player, was excited to see we have equipment for the sport. She has taken the lead to coach badminton to her first graders and offer an after-school badminton program,” Manglona said.

“We hope to continue this collaboration and see more opportunities for the association to offer more Shuttle Time to our students and our staff. From our Colts family, we thank the NMBA,” she added.

Fourth grader Emmanuel Cruz, one of the students that attended Shuttle Time, said with NMBA’s donation, his classmates and friends who missed the badminton clinic, will have a chance to play in school.

“We can play together and I can show them how to hit the shuttlecock,” Cruz said.

For her part, NMBA president Merlie Tolentino thanked Badminton Oceania and Badminton World Federation for supporting their efforts to offer badminton to students from all three islands. She said making badminton as an after-school program or including the sport in physical education classes does not only give NMBA and the CNMI the opportunity to discover and develop talents, but also encourages children to stay healthy and active.

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