PNG Teen Ready to Fly High After ‘First Plane Trip’

David Joe Kaniku was only introduced to Para badminton last year via the Shuttle Time Schools Programme.

Now the 17-year-old Papua New Guinean student is an Oceanian silver medallist.

Kaniku, along with teammates Jerome Bunge, Danny Ten and Nelly Ruth Leva who also discovered badminton through Shuttle Time, represented their nation at February’s VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships in Ballarat, Australia. It was Papua New Guinea’s first ever international team.

The team, whose travel was supported by the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea, was not overawed by the occasion in the slightest – the quartet marked their debut by winning two silver and two bronze medals. It was a remarkable feat considering none of them had played on a full-sized court before.

On his maiden journey outside Papua New Guinea, Kaniku said: “I had never been on a plane so I was more excited than my teammates, but I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.

“I had never spoken to or met any Australians, and this was my first time going overseas and it opened my eyes to so many things.”

Not that it held him back in any way.

En route to winning silver in men’s singles Short Stature (SH6) category, the teenager overcame Australian opponents in the round-robin matches.

“I was nervous about playing, but when I realised how friendly and nice everyone was, I just relaxed and played as best as I could,” he revealed.

Now that he has experienced the joy of being on the podium, the youngster wants to do one better and win gold next time.

Papua New Guinea-based Regional Development Officer Kinivanagi Karo believes the team’s success bodes well for the sport in the country.

“Our Para athletes are maintaining the excitement from the tournament and leading our sessions back in Port Moresby for participants of all ages and abilities. This has been an awesome opportunity to create new Para athlete role models, and put PNG on the map in badminton,” Karo said.

BWF’s Shuttle Time Schools Programme is delivered by Badminton Papua New Guinea in partnership with Badminton Oceania, and funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Sports Partnerships.

The programme creates opportunities for people of all abilities to participate in badminton and works to change perceptions of disability.

** Article was first published by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Olympic and Paralympic News

Team Japan is Back on Court

Team Japan is Back on Court

11 July 2020
Extra Time a Blessing For Suzuki and Kajiwara

Extra Time a Blessing For Suzuki and Kajiwara

30 June 2020
Palak Kohli Makes the Most of the Great Outdoors

Palak Kohli Makes the Most of the Great Outdoors

25 June 2020
Rashid Sidek Aids Cheah’s Quest for Paralympic Glory

Rashid Sidek Aids Cheah’s Quest for Paralympic Glory

18 June 2020
Badminton Triumphs Trump Cricket Dreams for Tarun Dhillon

Badminton Triumphs Trump Cricket Dreams for Tarun Dhillon

2 June 2020
Getting to Know … Daniel Bethell

Getting to Know … Daniel Bethell

20 May 2020
Sukant Kadam: How I Started Playing Badminton

Sukant Kadam: How I Started Playing Badminton

10 May 2020
Taliban Attack Survivor Won’t Slow Down Just Yet

Taliban Attack Survivor Won’t Slow Down Just Yet

8 May 2020
It’s All About Family and Country for Oktila

It’s All About Family and Country for Oktila

3 May 2020
Lockdown Highs and Lows

Lockdown Highs and Lows

23 April 2020
With Willpower and Great Dedication Comes Vitor Tavares

With Willpower and Great Dedication Comes Vitor Tavares

14 April 2020
Behind the Scenes – BWF Classifier Dr Shamsul Azhar

Behind the Scenes – BWF Classifier Dr Shamsul Azhar

5 April 2020
New Dates Announced for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

New Dates Announced for Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics

30 March 2020
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Postponed

Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Postponed

25 March 2020
Spanish Para Badminton International Cancelled

Spanish Para Badminton International Cancelled

6 March 2020
Dubai Para Badminton International Postponed

Dubai Para Badminton International Postponed

5 March 2020
Poveda Can’t Stop Winning

Poveda Can’t Stop Winning

24 February 2020
Venue Change for Brazil Para Badminton International 2020

Venue Change for Brazil Para Badminton International 2020

9 February 2020
Bound for Big Things – Road to Tokyo: Krishna Nagar

Bound for Big Things – Road to Tokyo: Krishna Nagar

8 February 2020
Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 4)

Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 4)

23 January 2020
Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 3)

Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 3)

3 January 2020
Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 2)

Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 2)

28 December 2019
Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 1)

Dong Jiong: A Champion of Change (Part 1)

24 December 2019
Historic Venue to Host Para Stars

Historic Venue to Host Para Stars

27 November 2019
Double the Joy – Japan Para Badminton International 2019: Finals

Double the Joy – Japan Para Badminton International 2019: Finals

18 November 2019
Bethell Dethrones Bhagat – Japan Para Badminton 2019: Finals

Bethell Dethrones Bhagat – Japan Para Badminton 2019: Finals

17 November 2019
Kim Gives Kajiwara Four Years – Japan Para Badminton International 2019

Kim Gives Kajiwara Four Years – Japan Para Badminton International 2019

16 November 2019
Stepping Up in Tokyo – Japan Para Badminton International 2019

Stepping Up in Tokyo – Japan Para Badminton International 2019

15 November 2019
Fujihara Aims for Home Win – Japan Para Badminton International 2019

Fujihara Aims for Home Win – Japan Para Badminton International 2019

14 November 2019
Big in Tokyo – Japan Para Badminton International: Day 1

Big in Tokyo – Japan Para Badminton International: Day 1

13 November 2019
Blazing A Trail to Tokyo 2020

Blazing A Trail to Tokyo 2020

12 November 2019
Might of Mind Over Matter – Road To Tokyo: Valeska Knoblauch

Might of Mind Over Matter – Road To Tokyo: Valeska Knoblauch

5 November 2019
Excitement for Paralympic Games in Overdrive

Excitement for Paralympic Games in Overdrive

1 November 2019
Record-Breaking Demand for Paralympics Tickets

Record-Breaking Demand for Paralympics Tickets

21 October 2019
Suzuki, Mazur, Cheah Strike Twice – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Finals

Suzuki, Mazur, Cheah Strike Twice – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Finals

22 September 2019
Double Gold for Wetwithan – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Finals

Double Gold for Wetwithan – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Finals

21 September 2019
Chu Claims Champion Scalp – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Day 5

Chu Claims Champion Scalp – Thai Para-Badminton Int’l: Day 5

20 September 2019
Focused on Change  –  Road To Tokyo: Manasi Joshi

Focused on Change – Road To Tokyo: Manasi Joshi

19 September 2019
Para Stars Head to Thailand and China for Key Fortnight

Para Stars Head to Thailand and China for Key Fortnight

17 September 2019
Teenage Threat on Two Wheels – Road To Tokyo: Liu Yutong

Teenage Threat on Two Wheels – Road To Tokyo: Liu Yutong

15 September 2019
Historic Day for Peru and Guatemala – Parapan Am Games 2019

Historic Day for Peru and Guatemala – Parapan Am Games 2019

2 September 2019
Born Fighter – Road To Tokyo: Tim Haller

Born Fighter – Road To Tokyo: Tim Haller

6 August 2019
At the Height of His Career – Road To Tokyo: Lucas Mazur

At the Height of His Career – Road To Tokyo: Lucas Mazur

16 July 2019
Close Battle for Top Spot

Close Battle for Top Spot

7 July 2019
Badminton Saved My Life – Road To Tokyo: Chan Ho Yuen

Badminton Saved My Life – Road To Tokyo: Chan Ho Yuen

5 July 2019
In-Form Bhagat Charges Ahead

In-Form Bhagat Charges Ahead

4 July 2019
Coombs Breaks Drought – Irish Para-Badminton International

Coombs Breaks Drought – Irish Para-Badminton International

24 June 2019
Kim Jungjun Ramps Up Training With Tokyo in Mind

Kim Jungjun Ramps Up Training With Tokyo in Mind

12 June 2019
Oktila’s Sights Now On World Championships

Oktila’s Sights Now On World Championships

13 May 2019
Dong Seop, Oktila Claim Treble – Canada Para-Badminton International

Dong Seop, Oktila Claim Treble – Canada Para-Badminton International

13 May 2019
Agitos Workshop a Hit With Participants

Agitos Workshop a Hit With Participants

1 May 2019
Bello Determined to Make History

Bello Determined to Make History

1 May 2019
Sky’s the Limit for Para Badminton in Uganda

Sky’s the Limit for Para Badminton in Uganda

22 April 2019
Team Japan’s Road to the Paralympics, and Beyond

Team Japan’s Road to the Paralympics, and Beyond

12 April 2019
Super Mum – Road To Tokyo: Yuma Yamazaki

Super Mum – Road To Tokyo: Yuma Yamazaki

10 April 2019
Athlete Wellbeing and Tokyo 2020 Top Priority for Commission

Athlete Wellbeing and Tokyo 2020 Top Priority for Commission

9 April 2019
Asia Shares Out Wins – Dubai Para-Badminton Int’l

Asia Shares Out Wins – Dubai Para-Badminton Int’l

8 April 2019
Qu Zimo Wins Triple Crown – ENESCUP 2019

Qu Zimo Wins Triple Crown – ENESCUP 2019

1 April 2019
Turkey Kickstarts Paralympic Qualifying

Turkey Kickstarts Paralympic Qualifying

25 March 2019