The Humans of Shuttle Time series from the Badminton World Federation shares the viewpoints of those who contribute to grassroots badminton development. Daniel Akavi is the first recipient of the Shuttle Time Youth Leadership Award. He shares his story of growing up in the Cook Islands and what badminton means to him.
During my childhood, I was more involved in church and school activities than anything else. I’d go to church every morning, head to school, and then go back home.
I first saw badminton at school during an activity organised by Badminton Cook Islands.
When I first saw badminton, I thought that it was a sport that could be played right away, but of course I was wrong and when I first tried it, I instantly knew that it takes years of commitment to develop and make yourself the best player you can be.
𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗕𝗮𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻
Ever since, I have been training with Badminton Cook Islands for the last seven years and have travelled with Badminton Cook Islands to the AIMS Games, Oceania Championships and New Zealand nationals. I attended the BWF Shuttle Time Youth Leadership Workshop in Cook Islands in September 2022. The workshop was delivered by Hebrew Tom, Shuttle Time Tutor of Cook Islands.
My most memorable moment was becoming the Cook Islands U19 doubles champion 2019 with my partner by defeating the top seeds in the final.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗕𝗮𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻 𝗠𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘀
Badminton is part of my everyday life now and the only thing that gets me out of the house besides church or school.
What makes badminton different from other sports is that not only does it make you physically and mentally stronger, it helps enhance social skills, as it did for me as when I was younger. I could never speak to people about things that I liked to talk about, but after I started playing badminton, I grew confident and am now pretty loud and spontaneous.
𝗗𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗼𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗕𝗮𝗱𝗺𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆
While in one of the outer islands of our country for badminton development, it was a great experience for me as a player and a youth leader as I could see the varied interests of players in our community.
Shuttle Time has made a big difference in our community. Our after-school and outer-island programmes have made badminton a more widely known sport throughout the country and made it easier to produce players for future tournaments overseas. Also, this brings out the social activity within our community in a healthy and fun way.
𝗟𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗙𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗦𝗵𝘂𝘁𝘁𝗹𝗲 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲
While being with Shuttle Time, a lesson that I have learnt is that everyone has a chance to play this sport, no matter what size or age they are. As long as you want to play the sport, you must play it with everything you’ve got, no matter the disadvantages you face.