With one week to go until the annual Anchor AIMS Games takes place in Tauranga, New Zealand, players from Tonga are looking excited to put their training to the test as the badminton competition gets underway.
Eight players from four schools in Tonga will be competing in next week’s competition, including:
The majority of players competing in the Anchor AIMS Games live in New Zealand, where indoor badminton venues are more common in comparison to the Pacific Islands.
The extreme lack of purpose-built badminton venues throughout the Pacific requires innovation and resourcefulness to undertake more unconventional training methods.
Tonga’s aspiring shuttler, Sione Finau, shared his account with us to describe his passion for the sport and how he is preparing for next week’s AIMS Games:
My name is Sione Finepolo Finau. I live in Hihifo, Ha’apai. Badminton is one of my favourite hobbies.
When I was selected to participate on AIMS Games last year, it was a huge honour and it was my first time traveling abroad to represent my home island in badminton.
I absolutely loved the experience of competing last year and I am delighted to have been selected again this year.
I’ve prepared and trained hard to develop my footwork, drop shot, net shot, clear and even service skills.
Currently, I have to train and prepare outdoors on the hard ground and in the gardens under the breadfruit tree, but this doesn’t hold me back of training hard.
I just hope that one day we will be able to train indoors so I can improve more. I pray to consistently train and learn so that I can continue to represent my island in badminton.
The players will also be taking part in a culture sharing ceremony and a Junior Umpire training programme before the competition gets underway on Monday 9 September.
Follow the player’s progress on the official Anchor AIMS Games 2019 website.