Reigniting Badminton Development in Samoa

May 15, 2024

Badminton in Samoa had hit a high point between 2017 and 2019 with the nation hosting the 2019 Pacific Games. However, during the Covid years the sport took a backseat.

To reignite interest in the sport, SBF President Lizzie Key identified the need to restart Shuttle Time in Samoa and looked to upskill local people in Samoa to deliver and develop the workforce infrastructure for Shuttle Time. This started with the Teachers Course in 2024, with the view that in future years, several of the trained teachers will advance to become tutors.

Additionally, Special Olympics Asia Pacific through Preethy Janarthanan met with Lizzie Key and Tusitina Nu’uvali of Special Olympics Samoa to discuss the inclusion of badminton in the SOS programme. SOS was keen to engage their volunteer networking in Shuttle Time so that they could utilise their newly learned badminton knowledge in regular delivery.

SBF also put forward several non-Special Olympics focused participants with badminton backgrounds who were interested in taking the course.

Teachers Course

A Shuttle Time Teachers Course was conducted by Badminton Oceania Confederation (BOC) Development Officer Dhanny Oud and Sam Kreutzer (BOC Participation & Development Manager) for 20 candidates. The course was delivered at the Faleata Multisports Complex at Tuanaimato, Apia, Samoa on 15-16 April 2024.

Following the course, the ST Teacher candidates practiced delivering to students from Loto Taumafai Society for People with Disabilities school students and children from the Samoan badminton community in unified/inclusive sessions. The newly trained Shuttle Time Teachers also delivered a separate session to school kids at All Saints Anglican School in Apia.

The funding to send BOC staff to Samoa to deliver the sessions was made possible through the 2023 BWF Member Association Grant to the Samoa Badminton Federation.

Wilma Tupu, national player and one of the Shuttle Time Teacher Course participants, was all praise for the programme: Throughout the week that I underwent the Shuttle Time Teachers course, I really enjoyed being able to teach other people about badminton and also learned a lot from it. Having Loto Taumafai Society for People with Disabilities school students join us was fun and very educational for me in a way where I was able to communicate with normal children and those with intellectual disability. It was fun and very special for me.”

Inclusive Programme

Tusitina Nu’uvali, Director of Special Olympics Samoa, hailed the inclusive aspect of the programme.

“Partnership really indicates a true meaning of inclusion. Partnering up with the badminton federation to train our community-based group’s youth/leaders enhances using sports as a tool for inclusion. It’s an opportunity for our athletes, unified sport partner and youth volunteers.”

SBF and BOC are confident that with 20 newly trained Shuttle Time Teachers in Samoa, the programme can be delivered regularly and support the growth of the sport in Samoa. Going forward, it is expected that Special Olympics Samoa will regularly deliver badminton at its multi-sport days, and that SBF will facilitate the use of the new Shuttle Time Teachers to deliver to schools and to new participants at the social badminton sessions.