Visit to Republic of Maldives Tour
of Republic of Maldives
of Saitama-ken Badminton Association in Japan
March 21-29th, 1999, eleven players of the Badminton Mammies team of Saitama
prefecture had friendship matches with the Mammies team, Juniors team and
"Social" team in the Republic of Maldives.
In Maldives, there are about 1,200
islands spread out on the equator in the Indian Ocean. They are trodinarily
beautiful small islands, in fact, the
original meaning of Maldives is garlands. Although they haven't any special
atural resources, tourism is very popular.
The population of Maldives is about
260,000. The name of the capital city is MALE. Over sixty-thousand eople
live there. They import almost all of their all kinds of daily goods from
Asia and Europe. Everyone in the Maldives are Moslem.
We got the good opportunity to visit
the Maldives from a Japanese badminton coach called Miss Wakai, who is
registered in our prefecture. At this time, she is finishing her two year
coaching contract for the Japan international Corporation Agency.
One day, she sent me a letter : "
there are some Mammies badminton players who are interested in playing
a friendship match with Japanese". Early in July last year, I was
told to encourage her ideas when I visited the Maldives. One of our goals
is to promote International friendship.
On March 22nd, we left Narita Airport
to go to Colombo, Sri Lanka, which was a ten hour journey. After we arrived
at Colomb, we transited for two hours at there, after this we arrived at
FULHULE International Airport in the Maldives. It took a total of 14 hours
to get there. Miss Wakai met us at the Airport with some badminton players.
From the airport to the capital city, MALE, it takes 20 minutes by a small
First day: We didn't have any accidents
during the trip. Actually, the average age in our group was over 55. We
slept well.Second day: In the morning, we had a light practice in the gym,
and in the afternoon, we took a rest. That evening, we had a welcome party
by Maldivian mummies. They invited us to a small private island. One of
the mammies own a ship. They served Maldivian curry and so many different
kinds of local food. It was a really good taste. The Maldives most charming
point is the color balance of the natural sea between the clear blue sky.
The sun sets on the west side of the island and it fills the sky with breathtaking
I was impressed to look at the huge
shining Southern Cross.
Third day: We had the friendship match
with them. We had a good time. Although we couldn't speak English, we managed
to communicate with them through badminton. The results of the friendship
match were as follows:
SHIMLA/RASHIDA 0 - 2 FUKASAKU/ASANO
NAAZU/LELA 0 - 2 NARAHARA/MURATANI
SHIFA/SHIMULA 0- 2 SUZUKI/MIYASAKA
We also had a match with the MALE junior
players who learned badminton from Miss Wakai. They were surprised that
our players were all over fifty and we were very excited to play. They
had never seen such players before. In the Maldives culture, only young
ladies play sports.
Fourth day: We had a friendship match
with the social team at 6 am. We met a devout Moslem, who was one of the
social team's players. He never tried to shake hands with the Japanese
Mummies, even on court. Instead, he put his hands together.
We saw many traditionally dressed senior
women and men who were wearing characteristic hoods and long sleeve shirts.
We didn't care much for the local culture during our stay in Male. I'm
sorry to say that.
Fifth and Sixth day: We really enjoyed
"resort life" of Maldives. We stayed at "Laguuna Beach".
It's far from Male, about 20 minutes by speed-boat. There was an extraordinarily
beautiful beach, sea and plenty of tropical fishes. We saw a herd of dolphins
and a turtle by snorkeling. There is a Marine Aquarium in the
Maldives Sea. We were a little surprised
by the contrast between local life and resort life. We never experienced
such places. It was such a nice place that only visitors can know.
Midnight, on March 29th, we left FULUHLE
Airport being sent off by some badminton players and Miss Wakai. Before
lunch on the 29th, we arrived at Narita Airport. We were a little tired,
but we were fully satisfied by this tour. Even though we had some communication
problems by language, we made badminton friendships.
We're looking forward to visit other
interesting countries for international friendship of badminton.
Thank you very much (Shuukulia) for
Maldives. We would like to visit again in the near future.
Translated by Takumi Shirai,
member of Saitama-ken Badminton Association