Newbie joins to extend PNG’s legacy

In 2020, four players made history as they became the first players to represent Papua New Guinea at an international badminton tournament – the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships.

Jerome Bunge, David Joe Kaniku, Danny Ten and Nelly Leva were the quadrant who travelled to Ballarat, Australia, and further funding from the Australian High Commission in Papua New Guinea has allowed their legacy to continue as most members of the team return to the Continental Championships in Melbourne next week.

Originally, David Kaniku was planning to compete but is no longer able as there were not enough entries in the SH 6 classification. However, the team welcomes a new face onboard – Dorna Longbut.

Longbut will be making her Para badminton debut just six weeks after winning her first Pacific Mini Games medal in Para Athletics. Like the ways Nellie Leva was able to use her transferable skills between javelin and Para badminton, which saw her compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Longbut is hoping to benefit in the same way.

Learn more about her journey in the build up to the VICTOR Oceania Para Badminton Championships 2022 in this Q+A:

Tell us more about yourself…

I’m 23 and I come from East New Britain. I like traveling and seeing new places and meeting different people, especially from Para sport and getting to know their stories.

I am currently working and studying and hope to finish my diploma soon. I grew up in a rugby-orientated family and community, so I love watching rugby on the weekends with my family, especially my dad and brothers. I’ve been enjoying playing athletics and badminton for the last couple of months too.

Can you tell me more about your injury?

In 2017, I played in a rugby league grand final game back home in my local town and broke my left hand and dislocated my left elbow. They put a cast on my arm but failed to create a window in the cast to allow air through. The cast was suffocating the wound. The lack of oxygen caused blackness, swelling, and stopped the flow of blood through my left hand. The negligence left my hand numb so they referred me to another hospital where I stayed for almost a whole year, going through more than 20 theatre procedures trying to save my hand. However, to no avail as it cannot move anymore.

Since your injury, what has your sporting journey looked like?

I recently joined both Para badminton and Athletics this year. In April, I competed for para-athletics in a British Athletics invite during a GAPS camp in Birmingham, England, and more recently, at the Mini Pacific games in Saipan I won bronze in the shotput ambulant event and I also achieved my greatest title yet – gold in the women’s 100 meters ambulant.

My journey into Para badminton was somewhat exciting as I’ve never played this game before with no official rally yet but going into this year’s Oceania tournament I’m looking forward for more exposure and experience.

(Dorna Longbut, second-left, prepares to make her Para badminton debut)

Press release