Today, Badminton Oceania was delighted to be joined in our head office by representatives from Tuvalu Badminton in a first face-to-face meeting.
Tuvalu Badminton President and board member, Iakopo and Asita Moloti’I, met with Badminton Oceania’s CEO (Julie Carrel) and Development Manager (Nadia Bleaken) to discuss several subjects to assist the increased opportunities for badminton in Tuvalu.
Topics on the agenda included the signing of the Badminton Oceania 2021 support agreement and discussions surrounding the BWF MA grant programmes – with their application focusing on developing a strategic plan and increasing badminton participation through AirBadminton activities with communities on their unique islands.
Last year, we profiled some of the challenges faced in Tuvalu – the least visited country in the world. The nation is completely made up of coral atolls, which are the remains of a volcano which has sunk below the surface of the water. These remains form the land of Tuvalu which is often long, narrow and practically level with the sea.
With under 26 square kilometres of land between a population of approximately 11,500 and limited activities on the paradisiac island, indoor sports venues are hard to come by. Therefore, Tuvalu Badminton has to take Shuttle Time to the streets, which plays a significant role in keeping the nation’s youth active.
Also joining today’s meeting remotely via zoom, Kumon Tante (BOC Regional Development Officer – Fiji) has origins in Tuvalu, providing further insight into the possibilities and prospects for the organisation who are about to receive an influx of AirBadminton and Shuttle Time equipment, following the recent mass preparation and exporting of products completed at Badminton Oceania’s head office.
Asita is also a member of Badminton Oceania’s gender equity committee, as they work to ensure there is support and access to badminton for women and men across all abilities.
“COVID-19 only increased the unique problems we face in Oceania regarding the distance and the remoteness of our member countries. To have the opportunity to meet with Tuvalu Badminton was a big deal for us and I’m looking forward to developing opportunities further”, says Nadia Bleaken.
Iakopo and Asita were able to meet in New Zealand due to Iakopo’s follow up appointments on a ‘record-size’ tumour which was removed two years ago.
Inspired by his determination to continue the development of badminton in-country, Badminton Oceania wishes Iakopo all the best in his ongoing recovery and looks forward to furthering collaboration over the coming weeks, including meeting the local Tuvalu communities in New Zealand and the transferal of more skills to increase badminton opportunities in country.
Watch this space.