Badminton tournament key in leadup to Pacific Games
The final Samoa Badminton Federation (S.B.F.) Open Tournament for 2018 ended on Saturday at the Robert Louis Stevenson School Hall at Tafaigata.
The three day tournament was preceded by the Juniors’ competition last week, and the squad for the upcoming Victor Oceania Championships in Melbourne in February was announced at the prizegiving dinner on Saturday.
S.B.F. president Nynette Sass said this was the best event since badminton was revived last year.
“We’ve had a number of competitions now, and this one was really intense, and exciting to watch.”
She said badminton in Samoa died out after the last Pacific Games hosted here in 2007.
“I’m very hopeful, and quietly confident we can do well next year in the Games.”
“This was part of our pathway to selecting our final team for July.”
A squad of six seniors and six juniors will compete at the Oceania Championships.
Sass said competing internationally is absolutely critical for player development.
“Ideally we’d like to take a team of eight and eight.”
China have offered a slot for 20 people to go over there for a training camp in the leadup to the Games.
“The bulk of that group that’s gonna go will be our junior players,” Sass said.
She said the top two juniors competed well in the open tournament also.
“They’ve demonstrated a far greater skillset than we expected, since they’ve only been playing a year.”
“So we’re excited about the growth of the sport in the future.”
“Potentially they can come back from China and beat the seniors as well.
“The three months spent there will be an immense boost to their skillset and fitness.”
She said playing in a professional environment will greatly benefit everyone who goes.
“You’re gonna be completely dedicated to the sport.”
“China also indicated there is interest from them in long-term relationships with Samoa Badminton, because it’s one of their national sports.”
“That sort of stuff excites me, because there’s stuff beyond the sport.”
She said it would be brilliant if the sport could provide scholarships for young people.
“If we can provide that opportunity for them, that’s another pathway they can take.”
“Learn the sport and learn something as well that they can fall back on.”
She said being over in China would be so valuable regardless.
“It’s the experience of a lifetime, one you normally wouldn’t have.”
“It opens their eyes to a lot of other things that are available in the world.”
“To me that’s one of the benefits of sports.”
Open Tournament Results:
Winner – Tupu Joseph Fua
Runner up – Hilton So’o
Singles Women Overall (International)
Winner – Emma Sigrid Funk
Runner up – Lizzie Key
Singles Women (National)
Winner – Lizzie Key
Runner up – Moevanu Tupu
Winner – Tupu Joseph Fua & Sila Efeso
Runner up – Hiton So’o & Charles
Winner – Moevanu Tupu & Peta Mualia Teó
Runner up – Lizzie Key & Emma Sigrid Funk
Mixed – Double
Winner – Hilton So’o & Lole Ioane
Runner up – Tupu Joseph Fua & Moevanu Tupu
Juniors Overall Winner
Coach of the Year
Efeso Sila Tamaletoa
Junior Division – Aukuso
Senior Division – Kennedy Simanu
Consistency Player – Pam Keil
Committed Player – Lole Ioane
New Comers – Mathew Teó & Jessie Tupu