AirBadminton & Shuttle Time Rising in Cook Islands

June 7, 2023

The upcoming World Beach Games has provided a tremendous incentive for the growth of AirBadminton in the Cook Islands, with outdoor Shuttle Time outdoor sessions the vehicle of delivery.

The lack of indoor stadiums has traditionally hampered the spread of badminton in the Cook Islands, but with the increasing popularity of AirBadminton, infrastructure has ceased to be a limiting factor. Shuttle Time has thus ridden on the back of AirBadminton’s popularity, and Shuttle Time Youth Leaders are helping deliver Shuttle Time lessons at locations such as Tereora College, the biggest college in the Cook Islands.

The best examples of Shuttle Time delivery are at three schools in Rarotonga — Titikaveka College, Akateimia Imaanuela School and Te Uki Ou School — which do not have indoor courts, so sessions are all outdoors using AirBadminton equipment.

Cook Island Beach Games

In many school settings Shuttle Time is delivered outdoors, usually on grass fields at school. These sessions are a useful tune-up for the Cook Island Beach Games, which will be played on different surfaces such grass, hard court and sand.

The project focusses on secondary students earlier in the year and on primary students later in the year. During April and June, the secondary students train for the annual Secondary Schools/National College tournament. This involves eight schools, with the Shuttle Time workforce delivering two-three sessions per week to boys and girls aged between 11 and 14.

Later in the year (October-November) the focus is on primary schools in the lead-up to the annual National Primary Schools tournament. This competition involves nine schools, with the Shuttle Time workforce delivering the same number of sessions to boys and girls aged between seven and 10.

Eye on Bali

Cook Islands will represent Oceania and the Pacific at the upcoming World Beach Games in Bali.

Most of the team selected have risen through the ranks of Shuttle Time to represent their country. Shuttle Time was a big factor in them choosing AirBadminton, which is one of many sports in the Cook Islands. Badminton is predominantly played in the main island, Rarotonga. But efforts have been made to introduce Shuttle Time with teacher training sessions in the outer islands.

Badminton has become increasingly popular in recent years through the Cook Islands’ commitment to Shuttle Time and community social play, so the majority of people are aware of the sport.

Children are introduced to badminton at school directly, with the Shuttle Time workforce being the first contact point, rather than parents.