In 2011, only three teams entered the Mixed Team event at the Pacific Games. Eight years later and the growth of badminton across the Pacific is evident as seven nations entered the Mixed Team event at the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.
Kiribati, taking part in their first Mixed Team event, consist of four players (two men and two women): Timwata Kabaua, Tooma Teuaika, Tinabora Tekeiaki and Teitiria Utimawa.
Despite finishing in seventh place in the Mixed Team event, Kiribati’s women Tekeiaki and Utimawa have plenty of positives to take away from the experience.
Both players were unaware of their opponent’s experience this week and were delighted to learn of their success against some of the region’s top players this week.
Over the last three days, the Kiribatian duo defeated their equivalent rivals from five out of six opponents, including Tonga, Northern Marianas, Samoa and two out of the top three seeded teams, New Caledonia and Tahiti.
“We are happy with our performances this week in the Games”, says Tinabora.
Meanwhile, they narrowly lost out to take Fiji’s Karyn and Andra Whiteside in three games, whose experiences spans across two Commonwealth Games (2006 and 2018) and the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017.
The pair haven’t gone unnoticed this week and have turned many heads in admiration of their sportsmanship and skill, with many labeling the pair the one’s to watch in the individual competition – starting tomorrow.
However, physical and mental tiredness poses a new challenge to the player’s as they will have played 12 matches before the individual event gets underway, unlike most of the players here.
“We are feeling tired after playing so many games this week. We will try our hardest in the individual events”, says TInabora.
Follow the draw and results of the individual event on Tournament Software.