Amputee player Jerome Bunge, whose video of a badminton session while holding a crutch went viral a few weeks ago, is thrilled to be taking part in his first international competition at the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2020 beginning Thursday.
It will be the first time Bunge and three others in the team – David Joe Kaniku, Danny Ten and Nelly Ruth Leva – are travelling abroad.
“I am very excited about the upcoming championships and I’m looking forward to being classified so that I can observe the style of play and techniques used by those in SL 3 classification,” said Bunge.
The players attended a Para badminton development camp in January under the guidance of Ian Bridge, Badminton Oceania’s Coaching and Development Officer, and Regional Development Officer Kini Karo.
Bridge and Karo were supported by Papua New Guinea’s Brian Karo and BWF Shuttle Time teacher Bella; the four held sessions to develop the skills and techniques of the aspiring players.
“I believe the preparations have been tough but adequate, especially with Ian, and I want to thank his dedication in helping Para badminton players here in Papua New Guniea. I know it’s not going to be easy but I will put to use what I have been taught,” said Bunge.
The coaching team marked out badminton courts of the right measurements for the players to get a more realistic understanding of the sport.
Playing on a proper badminton court at the Ken Kay Badminton Stadium will not be the only new experience for the four players, it will also be the first time that they have been abroad.
“As well as developing their skills and techniques, we have been mentally preparing them for what is going to happen in Australia and learning more rules about the game,” said Ian Bridge.
Another player in the team, Nelly Ruth Leva, shared her emotions ahead of the continental championships.
“I am looking forward to the event but I am very nervous as this is my first event. I have been playing for only a short time but am privileged to do the training we have in PNG before this event. I will do my best.
“I would also like to say thank you to the BWF who are supporting me with a female participation grant,” said Nelly.
As part of the Australian Sports Partnerships Programme, the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have helped make it possible for the players from Papua New Guinea to attend the championships.
** Article was first published on Badminton Oceania website by Tom Leonard.