Cook Islands badminton have long had to compete with the nation’s most popular contact sports such as netball, soccer, and rugby.
However, when COVID-19 bought a temporary stop to contact sports, badminton became even more attractive as Shuttle Time sessions became oversubscribed. With parents.
Quickly adapting to the new ‘ways of working’, the Cook Islands Badminton secured a space in a hostel to host sessions for avid players.
Shuttle Time teachers and alumni-turned-junior national squad players lead the sessions which quickly became of high interest to the community interest. New participants were subscribing each day and their accompanying parents were just as eager to join in.
Thankfully, availability of the space allowed for extra session to cope with the demands and the smaller groups currently permitted to gather in the community.
Badminton Cook Islands were quick to capitalise on the success of Shuttle Time as they organised a fun doubles tournament to enhance the (already-strong) Spirit with a ‘Clash of the Generators’ tournament – where a whopping 48 teams entered, putting the nations Shuttle Time equipment to further use.
The tournament made sure to include opportunities for all to have fun with awards that you might not usually see at badminton tournaments such as: Best Dressed, Biggest Age Difference, Most Unrelated and Youngest Competitor.
Gail Eraio (Badminton Cook Islands Secretary) and her partner were just one of the teams who took part in the event calling themselves the Eraio Energizers with uniforms to match and winning the award for having the biggest age difference in a pair.
“Eraio Energizers played 5 games won 3 lost 2 – weren’t the winners but everyone had a great time”
“It was a super day with mums and dads, aunties and uncles, Brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews all teaming up to total 48 teams in the tournament”, says Eraio
The fun-factor tournament kickstarted a chain of successful events for the nation, as the National Junior Championships followed throughout August.
Many of the participants from both events are now preparing for the upcoming Cook Islands Games, from 3-17 October, on the island of Rarotonga.
Badminton is among 21 sports to be included in the reboot of the Games, with ambitions to further develop domestic athletes who are based in the Cook Islands and have missed out on further opportunities this year due to COVID-19 – which includes many of the participants from the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2019 and previous Pacific Junior Development Camps.
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