Māori badminton player selected for NZ squad

Māori Television:

Westlake Girls High School student Tamara Otene has been selected for the New Zealand Junior Badminton team to take part in the World Championships in October.

Otene is the only Māori player to be selected and is using the SkyCity New Zealand Badminton Open at the North Shore Event Centre in Auckland this week to prepare for Indonesia.

Otene is relishing the opportunity to compete against players much older than her.

It’s an experience that will put her in good stead come October.

Otene (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) says, “For New Zealand players, it’s mostly just about getting experience and all that, and playing international players.”

The 15-year-old spent time offering tips and advice to her fellow New Zealand players.

She would not look out of place as a coach either.

Otene says, “You need some fast feet, agility. Fitness is key and fast reflexes.”

As the only Māori player in the New Zealand team, there’s no reason why that number couldn’t be more.

Her advice to other players wishing to pursue badminton, “Just keep training, try as hard as you can and never give up.”

As well as badminton, Otene is also a competitive volleyball player. Like many dual sports women, she will have to make a tough decision.

“Soon enough, I’m gonna have to make a choice between volleyball and badminton. I don’t know, whichever one.”

In the meantime, centre court on Auckland’s North Shore is her focus as she prepares to take on the world’s best in Indonesia.

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