Nukunuku - Excellent Example of Grassroots Community Badminton

Who says badminton can’t be played outdoors? In Nukunuku they are doing a fine job… fantastic way for the public to see what is happening… the community enjoying themselves, having fun, being active and healthy, getting fit and learning new skills… and showing they are very competitive!!!

Na’aniumotu club didn’t exist a year ago, now recent ShuttleTime badminton converts are excelling, winning 12 of the 15 titles on offer at the Tonga Badminton open Tournament, from U12 to U18 and Open events.

A visit to Nukunuku village on Tongatapu in the Kingdom of Tonga will inspire you and show exactly what is possible with enthusiasm, dedication, plenty of spare time and hard work.  This small village is home to the Prime Minister of Tonga, Mo’oia (Australian netballer) and Mark Gerrard (ex Australian rugby player) as well as TNBA VP and TASANOC Board member Dr Amanaki Fakakovikaetau and at this stage 30+ members of the Na’aniumotu Badminton Club.  Players get busy on an outdoor court… they’ve played so much in the last 6 months they’ve worn out 2 grass courts and have now cleared some space in scrubland to play their matches.  During the summer school holidays you will find kids playing 24/7 from before 6am until dark… they LOVE badminton… and with the talent on show… it won’t be long until Nukunuku produces more International athletes… keep an eye out on the Tonga Badminton Team in Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games… I’d place a bet on at least a couple of Na’aniumotu Club members in the team.

Thanks Lauti Na’aniumotu and Toni & Losa Moliteka… for playing, coaching and organizing the Na’aniumotu Club, from arranging play, making courts, feeding the athletes to managing ceremonial cultural performances, these guys have done it all and done it well!

Now the challenge is to other schools and villages around Tonga, and the Pacific to emulate the Nukunuku concept… get your community active, healthy and having fun… and don’t let them win so easily in the future!

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