Badminton in the least visited country in the world – Tuvalu

One of the smallest countries and least visited countries in the world, Tuvalu, became a member of Badminton Oceania in 2006, going on to compete in the South Pacific Games during that same year.  Two years later, the federation introduced badminton to the PE curriculum and marked out a badminton court.

The country is completely made up of coral atolls, which are the remains of a volcano which has sunk below the surface of the water. The remains form the land of Tuvalu which is often long, narrow and practically level with the sea.

With under 26 square kilometres of land between a population of approximately 11,500 and limited activities on the paradisiac island, indoor sports venues are hard to come by. Therefore, Tuvalu Badminton takes Shuttle Time to the streets, playing a significant role in keeping the nation’s youth active.

“We continue to focus on our juniors. Shuttle Time is a great way to keep them active on such a small, remote island,” says Tuvalu Badminton President, Iakopo Molotii.

Iakopo, who also coordinates the Shuttle Time activity on the island, has established a regular after school competition. Utilising the Shuttle Time equipment and pop up badminton nets, he can deliver sessions to children and be flexible with the outdoor spaces which are available.

“If it wasn’t for the equipment available through Shuttle Time, badminton wouldn’t be able to compete with rugby and soccer which are the other main sports on the island,” Iakopo continued.

Given the extremely remote location of Tuvalu, badminton is an important vehicle for parents and educators to teach important values to children.

This was echoed in their recent Olympic Day celebrations, which encouraged the children to participate in a round robin competition while focusing on good sportsmanship.

“Last week, we used Shuttle Time as a way to teach the values of excellence, respect and friendship. On Olympic Day, we brought the players together in a competitive environment to celebrate togetherness,” Iakopo finished.