By Candice Gollan
It has taken a community to get 16 Tongan Badminton representatives to the Anchor AIMS Games in Tauranga.
Since being formed in June 2017, the team has had to fundraise $30,000 Tonga Pa’anga (NZD $19,463.50). The team received funding from the Tongan Government and local community, Oceania Badminton and the Tongan community in New Zealand.
This is Tonga’s second AIMS Games tournament. Tongan Badminton Manager Peti Tupouniua said last year two representatives took out bronze in the Boys’ doubles.
“It was a good achievement for the boys,” said Tupouniua. “It has helped us build for this year’s competition,” she added.
In Tonga, the team of four girls and six boys mainly practised outside. They could often only get game-time indoors once a week.
“For some of the kids, it is their first time wearing proper shoes while playing.”
Lata ‘Isitolo, 11, and her fellow team members
all won their first games.
“We hope to be able to build from here,” Tupouniua said.