Badminton Oceania’s disability consultant Ian Bridge has just completed another visit to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea to deliver coaching sessions for PNG’s growing Para badminton team.
Ian was impressed to see several new athletes join the regular Para athletes attending 3 x weekly Inclusive GymBad sessions. Inclusive GymBad is part of Team Up – the Australian Government’s sport for development program in the Asia-Pacific, which is a combination of gymnastics and badminton that aims to remove and reduce barriers experienced by people with a disability, particularly women and girls.
“It was great to meet up with some familiar faces on the Para badminton scene and also some new players. We spent a week training and I love the enthusiasm of the players and their willingness to help each other. It is exciting to know that a number of players will be going to Australia to compete in the Oceania championships along with the West Australian Para International where they will see the world’s best players in action, providing them with a great opportunity to learn and be more motivated to grow the sport upon returning home”, said Ian.
Amongst the new athletes is Eva Kamiak, an enthusiastic single mother with a disability. Eva lives on her own at Taurama, on the outskirts of Port Moresby. She usually does marketing at the Manu market to sustain her daily life. Apart from marketing, she’s now playing badminton and has been committed to the sport ever since the day she joined the team. Being involved in Inclusive GymBad has boosted her self-esteem and she behaves in a confident manner knowing she is capable to play and be part of a dynamic sport team.
“Badminton is the first sport I joined. Through this sport and being influenced by the activities under its programs, it has changed my mind set and I see and do things differently these days. I am more confident in the way I dress and speak. Whenever I see a stranger with disability, I like to approach them and tell them about this amazing Inclusive GymBad program run under Badminton PNG and like to encourage them to join. I have changed physically and mentally, and I am a happy person every time I get together with the Para badminton team. I like to thank coach Ian for being available to come and visit us and train us one on one, this is a huge benefit for me to be recognized and be giving this opportunity to train with an international coach”, explains Eva.
Inclusive GymBad’s PNG Manager, Laurel Vagi-Tau says “Ian’s visit has been an opportunity for all the new participants who have recently joined the program. It has motivated them to commit themselves to training, knowing there are great opportunities for them ahead. Maybe not right now for some, but they can work towards the future. This is a challenge for all of our athletes with disability”.
Inclusive GymBad’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Joyce Koiari has also observed “participant numbers have increased and they’re catching up fast, especially the new participants. Ian’s visit is a boost to the athletes’ interest and confidence level.”
More experienced Para badminton players have also gained from the time spent with an experienced coach.
“Ian has helped me correct some of my hand grip techniques and now I feel more confident using the right techniques for the right shots.” Danny Ten
“I have learnt so much during Ian’s visit. I have more control doing clears from the back and net shots. Net shots have been the hardest but now I have control and execute successfully” said Jerome Bunge.
Badminton Papua New Guinea are planning to send a team of 6 athletes to Western Australia in September to compete in the both the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2023 and Western Australia Para Badminton International 2023 which will take place in Mandurah, WA.