It was a tough opening day at the Commonwealth Games in the individual events for ‘minnow’ badminton teams such as Falkland Islands, Barbados and Maldives, but the participants sought positives from their experience against stronger opponents.
Louise Williams and Laura Harada of Falkland Islands fell in straight games to Scotland’s Julie Macpherson/Ciara Torrance in the women’s doubles Round of 32, but they were thrilled with the experience of playing on the big stage.
“What a way to do it, on the show court, on the TV, it’s a big moment,” said Williams. “All of our family were there and all of our supporters, it’s amazing. For us, just being involved is the most important thing. We’re very passionate about sports in the Falklands and it’s nice to compete against different people. This is a chance to be out there, show everyone that we are here to do our best and proud to represent our country. All other small island nations, we’re all coming here and feeling the same thing.”
Her partner Harada added: “Even though we’re a small nation, we’re still here and hoping we can make an impact, even if it’s just for young people to realise that if you want to pick up sport, no matter where you are, there will be opportunities if you work for it.”
For Barbados duo Sabrina Scott and Tamisha Williams, the experience against Malaysia’s Cheah Yee See and Lai Pei Jing was “intimidating”, but there were lessons to be learnt.
“My takeaway from the match is to concentrate on playing the game as opposed to the players because knowing who we were up against, it was quite daunting at first, but then the mentality is, what do we have to lose? For us, it was more just to represent our country and ourselves and enjoy the game,” said Tamisha Williams.
After a quick opening game loss, Ajfan Rasheed and Aminath Abdul Razzaq of Maldives gave a better account in the second game against Singapore’s Andy Kwek/Jin Yujia in their mixed doubles Round of 64. Rasheed was sure that their performance boded well for the future.
“This is one of our first tournaments since the COVID-19 pandemic, I feel we have a lot of potential so we can go ahead and try to get better results in the future,” said Rasheed. “It’s a huge honour for us as we’re showing that the small nations can come to the stage and we hope for the future, for the younger generations that they can get even more access to things that we didn’t get.”