Excitement builds for Guam's Kremper
Guam Badminton player Michelle Kremper is excited to be involved with the Badminton Oceania-hosted Pacific Island Player Camp on Auckland's North Shore.
The 18-year-old, who is coached by Guam head coach David Yow, has played Badminton ever since she attended middle school in Japan after enjoying the sport in a less formal setting.
"When I heard there was a Badminton team at my school I was really interested and I played every day for three years straight at my school. I had a lot of opportunities to go to tournaments against other schools" Kremper said.
A move to Guam was a journey into the unknown for the youngster and she hoped there would be an opportunity to continue playing.
"I was worried when we moved to Guam that there would be no Badminton teams but there were and that was good.
"My coach David has been helping me out. He's very strict, he's straight up forward and tells me what to do, what I'm doing wrong.
"I never take his criticism personally. I feel like he really wants us to play better and become better players," she said.
Kremper and her Guam team-mates are part of a wider Pacific Islands Player group that includes players from New Caledonia, Tahiti and Tonga, a veritable cultural and Badminton melting pot.
"I haven't talked to the other players yet but I really want to," she explains, "I've never had this kind of opportunity and I'm guessing I'll figure out what that means over time."
The Oceania Mixed Team Championships and Oceania Men's and Women's Team Championships take place next week and Kremper is looking forward to testing herself in a competitive environment.
"I'm really excited about playing. I don't know what level the other players will be at but I do know they're really good. I'm hoping to win at least one match.
"The fitness tests we did were really hard because I'd never done anything like that before except at school. But it really pumped me up," she said.
With New Zealand coaches Tracy Hallam and Peter Jensen also taking lead roles in the Pacific Island Players Camp, Kremper gives the pair a big thumbs up.
"But it is a great opportunity for us to be here and I'm looking forward to working with Peter and Tracy more.
"They're like David in the way they are really straight up with players and they're willing to answer questions we have," she said.
And with the support of the Guam federation, Badminton Oceania's commitment to the development of the sport and her own determination, Kremper says she dreams of one day taking on the best.
"Slowly but surely, one day, I would like to work towards taking on Australia. They're really good and very skilled players and that opportunity would be great," she said.
The Oceania Mixed Team Championships takes place between 16-18 February and the Oceania Men's and Women's Team Championships is locked in for 19-21 February in Auckland, New Zealand.