Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

BWF News

The BWF World Junior Mixed Team Championships 2023 marks an exciting milestone for Cook Islands as they make their debut at a BWF event. This achievement is a testament to the success of the Shuttle Time program, as all six team members have emerged from this flagship schools program.

Shuttle Time Success Story

Shuttle Time, which was introduced in the Cook Islands in 2015, is currently being implemented in 20 schools, primarily in the capital city of Rarotonga. With over 1500 participants each year, this program has successfully engaged the local community.

Thomas Mereana-Ngauru, the President of Cook Islands Badminton Association, couldn’t contain his satisfaction as he witnessed the team’s competition.

“We’ve surprised ourselves with our performance in such a short period. Sitting here and seeing all these amazing players, I can’t help but smile. We are determined to keep pushing forward,” said Mereana-Ngauru.

The Journey of Growth

Mereana-Ngauru joined the association in 2016 and became President the following year. He recalls the early conversations he had with his team.

“Seven years ago, we made the decision to revive our association after witnessing its ups and downs. We gathered and concluded that we needed to focus on our children’s development to ensure the sustainability of our sport.”

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Their journey began with the introduction of Shuttle Time in schools, and from there, they progressed to various development programs. Today, their efforts have led them to this competition. Mereana-Ngauru acknowledges the years of hard work and the challenges they faced.

“It hasn’t been easy, and at times, we questioned if it was all worth it. But now that we are here, competitive and making an impact, it means everything to us. This is the reason we do what we do.”

Embracing Opportunity in the Pacific Ocean

The Cook Islands, consisting of 15 scattered islands across 2 million square kilometers in the Pacific Ocean, have primarily focused the Shuttle Time program in the capital, Rarotonga. However, they have expanded the program to two of the outer islands.

Daniel Akavi, a men’s singles player, admits that he hadn’t even heard of badminton seven years ago. It was through Shuttle Time that he was introduced to the sport, resulting in a complete change in perspective.

“I initially thought badminton wasn’t for me. I believed it was easy, but I was proven wrong. What interested me was the challenge it presented, and I wanted to try something new,” shared Akavi. “I found joy in the difficulty and being pushed out of my comfort zone.”

Inspired by the World Juniors Championships, Akavi aims to play at a higher level. As he plans to attend university next year, he looks forward to experiencing the high-intensity training in New Zealand.

“Watching players of my age compete at such a high level has ignited a fire within me. They have become my inspiration, and I’m motivated to give my best and strive to be like them.”

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FAQs

Q: How many Shuttle Time Teachers courses have been delivered in the Cook Islands?

A: 11 Shuttle Time Teachers courses have been delivered in the Cook Islands.

Q: How many children have been engaged through Shuttle Time in the Cook Islands?

A: A total of 1,179 children have been engaged through Shuttle Time in the Cook Islands.

Q: What were the results of the morning session on Day 3 in the Group stage?

A: In Group A, China defeated Korea 3-2, and Netherlands prevailed over Australia with the same score. In Group B, Singapore received a walkover victory against Mauritius, while Japan secured a 5-0 victory against Canada. Group C saw Austria defeating Latvia 4-1, and Malaysia achieving a clean sweep against England with a 5-0 victory. In Group D, Brazil won 5-0 against Cook Islands, and India secured a 4-1 victory against Germany. Group E witnessed Portugal dominating Armenia with a 5-0 victory, and Indonesia also secured a 5-0 victory against Estonia. Finally, in Group F, Hong Kong China won 5-0 against Ghana, and France emerged victorious with a 5-0 scoreline against Spain.

Conclusion

The Cook Islands’ debut at the BWF World Junior Mixed Team Championships is a testament to their dedication and the success of the Shuttle Time program. With a focus on nurturing young talent and expanding the sport to remote areas, the Cook Islands Badminton Association has achieved remarkable growth. Their participation in this event serves as an inspiration to aspiring badminton players across the globe.

For more information, visit the Carnegiecentre.

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