Pictured: (left to right) Tereapii Akavi, Te Pa O Te Rangi Tupa, Zarrian Heather-Rau and Kaiyin Mataio
It was a smashing weekend for Badminton Cook Islands with their Under 15s National Championship Games taking place last weekend at the TSA Arena.
Thirty players participated in singles, doubles and mixed doubles matches with most of the players being part of Badminton Oceania’s Player Development Programme and Badminton Cook Islands’ development programme for the Under 15s and Under 13s age range.
The results from each of the players’ performances on the court will set them up to qualify for the upcoming VICTOR Oceania Junior Championships in New Zealand which is hopefully set to take place in February next year.
The U13 squad participating just recently returned from New Zealand after they were stuck in lockdown on the way home from attending a development camp with Badminton Oceania earlier in the year.
Thomas Ngauru, president of Badminton Cook Islands, said that those players were back in good spirits and had come back with a new strength and passion for the game.
“It seemed to have really brought them together,” Ngauru said.
Even with only two weeks of preparation, they looked forward to taking part in the final tournament of the year.
“We always look forward to seeing how players do well against each other, especially when it means so much for their selection next year in the Oceania Championships. It’s also good preparation for the new year,” said Ngauru.
Day one saw a blend of games from men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles matches being played with finals held on Saturday. There were additional consolation matches held.
The final day on Saturday kicked off with mixed doubles elimination matches which turned out to be another evening of exciting matches.
“Unfortunately nerves defeated the best of many of the athletes,” Ngauru said.
This year’s winners for boys and girls singles, saw both of them take out first placing in mixed doubles and girls and boys doubles.
The night ended with a prize giving with each winner receiving Vodafone top up vouchers and some also receiving goodies.
The Junior Development Squad also participated in their respective age groups, showcasing their abilities and wellness levels on the courts. The Junior Development Squad have had intensified on court training and strength and condition training throughout this entire year to showcase their abilities as well as to see how well they have improved.
Badminton Cook Islands wanted to say a huge meitaki maata to Badminton Oceania and their main sponsor Vodafone Cook Islands, making events such as these possible.
A big thank you was also extended to the coaches and The Box Tumuora for developing and empowering their juniors and the for Badminton Cook Islands management and the parents of the players for their time and efforts.
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Text first published by Alana Musselle, Cook Islands News