Kiribati badminton gets off to good start
Kiribati is hoping to revive its chances in the sport of badminton after a eight year absence.
And they appear to be on the way to achieving that goal when the Kiribati women's team beat New Caledonia in their first match at the Multi-Sport Center at Faleata.
The island nation's badminton squad comprises just two men and two women.
Kiribati badminton coach Dean Lewis told the Samoa Observer that he's proud of the performance by his team and added that this is the first time for his players to compete in the sport.
And while they lost in the other categories, he said he is still proud of the feedback from his girls' team which beat New Caledonia on Monday.
"With the preparations with the girls, it is a very positive thing in trying hard so I'm hoping to get a good result from the girls since they have already knocked off the New Caledonian girls so hopefully they keep going," he said.
Mr Lewis, who is an Australian badminton player, said he was inspired and felt compelled to use his experience to revive the sport in Kiribati.
"I always wanted to try and have a hit instead of just sitting in a hotel and doing nothing, and so I went out to the Kiribati badminton hall and found these boys and girls," he said.
The female players trained in Melbourne, Australia for one month while his male players trained under his watchful eyes for two weeks.
It was challenging for the female players, according to Mr Lewis, as they've trained days and nights sessions just so they could have a hit in the Pacific competition.
Both male players are aged 26 and this is their first time playing badminton. Despite being new to the sport, they love the sport and are willing to pursue badminton as a career, if possible.