Oversized shuttlecocks and Pacific Games champion assist Shuttle Time in Papua New Guinea

Badminton Papua New Guinea (PNG) continues to celebrate a successful partnership with the Gymnastics Federation of Papua New Guinea, as part of the Pacific Sports Partnership, a programme which is funded by the Australian Government.

The self-proclaimed ‘GymBad’ partnership allows the sports to join forces and share resources to make more participants active through Shuttle Time and gymnastics activities, while having a particular focus on inclusion.

In order to adapt their Shuttle Time sessions to a diverse range of participants, PNG utilise an oversized shuttlecock to the group who have a range of visual and physical impairments.

“The big shuttle was donated to us and it’s been a great success with our disability groups. Some activities include balancing it on the head and doing a relay. Other times for throwing to/through a target (e.g. a hoop) it helps all disabilities regardless,” said PNG President, Kini Varo.

“I’ve used it many a times for both the para training sessions and the Shuttle Time sessions to introduce Paras on the motions of badminton and for overhead shots and clears. By dividing them into two teams, they compete with each other using the massive shuttlecock as their ball, with the rules very much similar to netball,” said PNG Para badminton coach, Brian Karo.

Over the last year, Pacific Games gold medallist in powerlifting, Linda Pulsan, has been trained to deliver the GymBad sessions and continues to assist with delivery as they continue to expand across the country.

“We were delighted to welcome Linda to our sessions. She brings a wealth of knowledge from her own powerlifting career and transferrable skills to our sport, inspiring the children along the way,” added Karo.

The PNG partnership has been in effect for over three years and the effects started to show at this year’s VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2020, where PNG sent their first ever contingent to an international badminton tournament. The four participants returned home with a trio of medals and are also now a crucial part of the delivery team as they are often spotted assisting and inspiring participants at Shuttle Time and GymBad sessions.

In 2019, 7,500 participants took part in Shuttle Time sessions, with 19% of those taking part with disabilities.