Pictured: Liana Eggleton (left) and Lovelyn Gatchalien (right). Photo Credit: Cook Island News
Cook Islands Badminton Federation continue to disrupt their nation’s sporting landscape with innovative ideas to improve badminton’s popularity across the country.
Last month, their plans to adapt to the ‘new normal’ were celebrated as they managed to capitalise on the sports non-contact element, making it a more attractive sport in this COVID-19 era. Shuttle Time sessions had become so popular, they had to move to a bigger venue and run a tournament to cater for the added interest from parents who took their kids to Shuttle Time sessions.
Now the team have gone one step further to launch a ‘ladies sessions’ to meet the added demand for rackets and shuttlecocks.
Known primarily for their stunning resorts, beaches and oceans, the Cook Islands are taking a hit with tourism, meaning there are several people with more free time who also want to lead a healthier lifestyle, according to Badminton Cook Islands President, Thomas Ngauru.
The sessions, which originally took place once a week on Wednesday mornings, have proved so popular that they have added another weekly session on Fridays too. They are targeted at mothers who want to give the sport a go and don’t have time in the late afternoon.
“It is a low impact sport, but a lot of fun and competitive. People have the perception that badminton is quite a lofty game and soft, but no, you’ve got to do the work”
“It’s not just about badminton, it’s about creating opportunities for others”, says Thomas.
Ngauru continues to say that it also provides a safe space for those who are struggling with the impact of COVID-19, providing an opportunity to share experiences and temporarily escape reality.
Their momentum of badminton comes at a great time, as many players across the country are preparing for the Cook Islands Games, which take place from 3-17 October in 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.
Text adapted from Cook Islands News
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