Pictured: Tehani Matapo (right) Cook Islands
Tehani Matapo, from the Cook Islands, was one of the youngsters attending last week’s Oceania Junior Pacific Development Camp.
Taking place in Auckland, Matapo was back in the land of one of her greatest badminton memories, after celebrating a tremendous run in last month’s Anchor AIMS Games in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Alongside fellow compatriot, Tereapii Akavi, the pair walked away with a silver medal following an appearance in the Girl’s Doubles Division 1 Women’s Doubles Finals.
Matapo doubled up on her silver as finished runner up in the Girl’s Singles Division 2 Singles Final too.
Having picked up the sport two years ago from BWF Shuttle Time sessions, Matapo is eager to learn from the Development Camp, accompanied by her ‘motivational and inspirational’ coach, Thomas Mereana-Ngauru.
“My overhead shots are my main strengths but throughout the development camp, I need to work on my backhand shots and my serves.”
“At the AIMS Games, I realised the importance of staying calm during matches as then I make less mistakes. So the Development Camp is a good opportunity to stay focused and practice”, says Tehani.
All of the players attending (from Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands) are part of the Tier 3 Player Development programme. They took part in a number of on-court sessions, followed by a handful of workshops to learn more about nutrition, equipment, stretching and preparing for tournaments – lead by Oceania’s regional junior champion and Tier 1 player, Edward Lau from New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Thomas Mereana-Ngauru was one of the coaches from the Pacific Islands attending the development camp to gain more knowledge and coaching experience towards his BWF Level 1 Coaching qualification.
Mereana-Ngauru was one of the coaches awarded a pass upon his successful completion, aided with the skills and knowledge to lead more sessions back in the Cook Islands and help aspiring players like Tehani continue to develop their game.