The VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships returns this week, with the largest number of entries ever received for the event. A growth in overall para badminton participation over the last few years plus returning competitors makeup the history-making occasion, including WH 1 competitor Marinda Jones from Napier New Zealand.
“I’ve been over to Australia… when I first started playing they had a training for 3 days here which I came over with Michelle and did that. And then I’ve done Ballarat which were the Oceania’s 2 years ago. And I went to Dubai a month ago for the proper international tournament… I got internationally classified at Ballarat at the Oceania’s so that was two years ago. I’m a different WH 1 because I’m actually even more disadvantaged but you know there’s only the two categories. Because of my level of injury because my hands are affected as well. But I like a good challenge but I work pretty hard with my coach.”
“So I have a strength and conditioning coach as well. So I’m with my strength and conditioning coach 3 days for an hour. And I also have a fantastic badminton coach and I have her 3 days a week for an hour and a half. And if there’s someone about, I will have hit with them or something. I’m sort of training about 5-6 days a week.”
Since started playing badminton around 4 years ago, Marinda first competed at the Oceania Championships in Ballarat, 2020 then entered the 4th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2022 earlier this year. Unfortunately, illness caught up to her, putting an early end to her tournament campaign. However, her goals remain focused an unchanged coming into this week’s VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships.
“In Dubai I ended up sick halfway through and I ended up having to pull out… You realised how much you really needed to work against, work on when you’re in there because you’re against all the top Asian countries. So I’ve gone home, and I was quite upset actually when I got back… So my coach and I have worked really hard. She’s thrashed me from here to now. And I just want to work on the same goals but absolutely getting them right. Just to do better and we will sees how this goes and see what happens from there.”
Previously Marinda was a serious athlete before trying badminton. And her hard work and determination from her athletic and personal experiences are no different in her badminton regime.
“I’ve been in a chair for 23 years where I broke my neck from a horse riding accident. And I played wheelchair rugby for 15 years. And we moved to Napier 10 years ago and it was quite hard… there was no sports down there. And I played rugby just for other areas but it wasn’t the same. And Michelle [Au] was living down in Napier and I got asked to come to a badminton give-it-a-go trial day. And couldn’t even hit a shuttle… and it was a real challenge especially for my level of injury.”
“I was a top horse rider before I had my accident and I played netball as well and then I needed to get into something after a while, after having my children and with my disability, because I actually got post-natal depression. But it was quite hard for my level of injury to find a sport. And we found that, its called quadregbeso its for my level of injury so I got into that and that’s probably what made me stronger and learn more about tiers and stuff. So that’s why I got into rugby and I was very sporty before my accident. So it was sort of to get me out of this darkness but to help me healthwise as well.”
Also different time around at the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships, her daughter will be by her side supporting her on and off the badminton court. The 42-year-old and a mum-of-two has enjoyed having her daughter with her for the ride and grateful for her supportive family and friends.
“It’s awesome. She sort of knows how everything runs so its a lot easier. I brought my mum a couple of years ago… and I had a friend to go with me to Dubai. But I don’t tend to need help-help. It’s just small things that she already knows because she lives with me and she knows badminton so she’s able to hit with me. And she goes to training because she gets trained by the same coach. So she knows if I’m not quite seeing something that’s not quite going right she can tell me because she’s used to being around it. So it’s her first international travel as well for her.”
All matches on courts one and two will be available to watch on the live stream, while news and results from the event will be available to view on our website and Facebook page. Join the conversation using #VOC22.