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1ST MASTERS GAMES LAUNCHES

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By Patrick Lujan

The first-ever Guam Masters Games kicked off Sunday night at the Leo Palace Hotel with most of week-long participants on hand.

“Launching this was important to give birth to something we hope will grow into the biggest tourist sporting event on Guam,” Tropical Production President E.J. Calvo said.

“This is something I’ve dreamed about since Alice Springs (Masters Games) 20 some years ago,” event organizer Benny Bello said. “I always knew that Guam can host such an event.”

Benny Bello

Action starts Monday morning with tennis events at the Hilton Tennis Courts. Five other sports – basketball, baseball, running, golf and grappling – are all slated for this week that will culminate in the Closing Ceremonies next Sunday.

“We started with six sports and there’s no doubt we can go to 10 sports the next time,” Calvo said, with plans to make the event every other year.

Sports Tourism

An angle the organizers are trying to tap is sports tourism. Guam sends Masters teams throughout the world where they spend money in local communities. Calvo feels it’s time Guam is the recipient of such an event.

“This Masters Games draws a sports tourist that is more attractive than most because they are usually professionals, older, they bring family and friends, and they are here to enjoy themselves too. They got more money in their pocket,” Calvo said.

“A big thing is showing the off-island athletes how organized the events are and gives them confidence how organized the Games will go.”

Some of the tennis competitors come out for the opening of the Guam Masters Games. (photo by Patrick Lujan Jr.)

Sports Legends

Some of Guam’s sports legends were on hand, including basketball’s Ray Topasna, Larry Fejeran and John Cruz; baseball’s Jimmy Pangelinan and Milan Borja; tennis’ Rick Ninete; golf’s Bill Reyes; and grappling’s Melchor Manibusan.

Go to guammasters.com for more information.

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QUICK HITS

Guam boys Kekoa Toves and Matias Calvo went head-to-head on the rugby pitch as American International College took on Dartmouth College, both top-ranked men’s rugby programs in the country.
Calvo (FD) is the captain of Dartmouth and scored, but Toves (Sanchez) and his AIC squad came away with the win in Springfield, Mass.
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1LT Belizabeth Nicole V. Rengiil is known to be the first female from Guam and Palau to make the All-Army Women’s Rugby Team. She is an active duty Signal Officer with the US Army and is stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.
Her team won the Armed Forces Women’s Rugby Championship with a 4-0 record.
Belizabeth is the daughter of Edwin and Juliana Rengiil with siblings Johanna and Edwin-Isaiah Rengiil from Mangilao.

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