Pictured: Richard, Shirley and Lorelle Olsen (far left) take part in Shuttle Time in Fiji
Every year, the United Nation celebrates International Day of Families on May 15 – a tradition since 1989. The day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
Various research has shown the mental and physical health benefits of badminton. From increased fundamental movement skills to decreased stress and anxiety, badminton can be used as a powerful vehicle to help people in various ways.
Most recently, two passionate players from Fiji (Richard and Lorelle Olsen) have spoken about how badminton has enhanced their families relationship, with crucial bonding moments to support the social processes of families.
Lorelle, who recently turned 10 years old, was introduced to the world’s fastest racket sport by her father, Richard. The father-daughter duo began their journey with Shuttle Time at the Vodafone Arena in Suva. Originally, Richard attended with his wife and wanted to see what the badminton was like in order to find out how suitable the sport was for their children, especially her aforementioned daughter.
Richard spoke highly of his experience and treatment by the Shuttle Time team (including our regional development officer, Kumon Tarawa), who openly welcomed the children to the sport and taught them the fundamental and basics of badminton with patience.
Like many of the Pacific countries, Shuttle Time goes beyond the typical school grounds, into the communities and encouraging adults to get involved too. That’s when Richard and his wife Shirley, saw the smile of Lorelle’s face and knew they had to pursue the sport.
“As the days go by, our family would look forward to the badminton day which would only be 2 days a week depending on the availability of the facilities. Actually it made the whole family bonding even stronger”, says Richard
Richard noticed that during these modern times, children were attracted to electronic devices, screen time and social media. As a parent, he didn’t want his daughter to pick up too much screen time. Thus, Badminton plays a huge impact on helping his wife, himself, daughter and other family relatives to stay away from the screens.
“Through badminton, we are now able to sleep better and enjoy more time together”, says Richard.
He also noticed a positive increase in attention from his daughter. The pair wanted to take it to the next level and entered the B Grade of Fiji’s National Championships, which took place in February 2022.
Initially, they were still hesitant to take part in the competition as there were more rules to learn and the nerves settled in for their first competitive match. However, with the encouragement of local players, they signed up and gained there first dose of confidence on the court after taking a game of their opponents in the second round.
Ultimately, Richard was delighted by the opportunity to compete alongside his daughter and bringing the pair “closer than ever before. Their ability to communicate and understanding of each other has evolved for the better.
“At times, we have a brother-sister relationship… and at the same time, we are making valuable memories together.”
Want to play badminton with your family? Get in touch with your local Member Association – find out their contact details here.
Written by Alex Deng