March 2, 2020
In 2020, over 70 applications were received from more than 30 countries worldwide as female athletes were encouraged to apply for financial support to attend and be Internationally Classified at a number of BWF sanctioned International tournaments in 2020.
Seven female Para badminton players from Oceania are reaping the benefits of the BWF Female Participation Grant, all of which competed in the recent VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2020 in Ballarat:
- Angelina Melki, Australia
- Kim Duong, Australia
- Fiona Sing, Australia
- Carrie Wilson, New Zealand
- Marinda Jones, New Zealand
- Selina Seau, Fiji
- Nelly Ruth Leva, Papua New Guinea
For many of the players in Oceania, this opens a world of opportunity as the continental location provides many barriers to competing at international events as transport becomes increasingly more expensive and complicated.
Australia’s Fiona Sing and Angelina Melki are both relatively new to Para badminton and are excited by the prospects involved with the grant.
Previously a tennis player, Sing has found a new community of players that she enjoys training and competing with. However, living in Tamworth (a remote part of New South Wales), has proved to be a barrier for the aspiring player.
“Transport around Australia is an issue for me, as I often have to catch connecting flights whether it’s domestic or international. I don’t have any sponsors at the minute so this grant helps to pay for the airfare so I can attend these events”, says Fiona.
15-year-old Angelina had a similar reply, stating that the grant is also helping her to gain the experience to go beyond the continental championships.
“I would love to keep representing Oceania and hope that I can compete in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games”
“This is a new experience for me and it is making me realise what I need to work on in a competitive setting”, says Melki.
Similarly, New Zealand’s Carrie Wilson was delighted to have the opportunity to compete thanks to the grant.
“I wouldn’t have been able to compete without the grant as I simply wouldn’t have been able to pay for the expenses to compete”.
Despite being her first international Para badminton tournament since an accident left her paralysed below the right knee, Wilson went on to win the women’s singles SL3-SU5 Gold medal in the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2020.
“It’s been an amazing experience. This has given me more purpose and something to look forward to. It’s helped to change my mindset in a positive way”, says Carrie.
All players expressed their gratitude for the grant and their interest in competing in the future.
In only two week’s time, Australia’s Kim Duong (who won silver in the women’s singles final against Carrie) will be using her BWF Female Participation Grant to compete in the Spanish Para Badminton International 2020.
Follow her progress in Spain on the Badminton Oceania Facebook page.