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Cook Islands to make international AirBadminton debut

Friday 19 May 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Badminton, Local, National, Sports

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Cook Islands to make international AirBadminton debut
Team Cook Islands at the Open Mixed Team tournament in Auckland. Photo Credit: Paul Foxall/23021729

A six-member team of three men and three women will be representing Cook Islands when the country makes its debut in AirBadminton at the second ANOC World Beach Games in August.

The national team will include Maneatapu Maretapu, JohnJones Eliu, Damus Matakino, Tehani Matapo, Terapii Akavi and Tuaanaore Mitchell.

Badminton Cook Islands president Thomas Mereana-Ngauru said the selection was done over two days at the Nikao Beach courts.

Mereana-Ngauru thanked Cook Islands Volleyball for letting them use the court for their trials.

“Areas of importance were fitness, ability to adapt to beach conditions, compatibility with other players, good technique and ability to strategise,” Mereana-Ngauru said.

“AirBadminton is a very new sport and very different to the indoor game in fact many indoor players do not enjoy the outdoor version because of the limitations with the range of shots and movement.”

Mereana-Ngauru said over 30 players trialled over two days – all had indoor badminton backgrounds.  

“Another obstacle we were facing was that many of our top male and female indoor players are already committed to attending the World Junior Championship in USA in September,” he said.

Mereana-Ngauru said that after announcing the shortlist it came down to who was available to meet the training requirements as many of their athletes were involved in other sports.

The second ANOC World Beach Games will be held in Bali, Indonesia from August 5 – 12.