Former Bundaberg teacher and Fiji badminton coach Brent Munday (left) coach with the Fijian team.
Former Bundaberg teacher and Fiji badminton coach Brent Munday (left) coach with the Fijian team. Contributed

How a Bundy teacher became Fiji's badminton coach

Fijian badminton coach Brent Munday will never forget his Commonwealth Games experience, and it has absolutely nothing to do with what happens on the court.

In February, the Tasmanian school teacher was midway through the Oceania Championships in New Zealand when he received a phone call, one which was four weeks earlier than planned.

"The wife shot a baby out about six weeks ago,” the first-time father said.

"I was over in New Zealand when I got the call so I jumped on the plane and came straight back.”

It was in 2011 when Brent Munday, who had spent 13 years at Parklands High School, located on Tasmania's north west coast at Burnie, and wife Kate needed a break from the Apple Isle.

They went north, about 2400km in fact, and settled by the ocean at Elliott Heads, a cosy coastal town just 20 minutes' drive from Bundaberg.

He taught Health & PE at Bundaberg High School while Kate taught at Isis District High School in Childers, and spent one and a half season playing cricket for Across The Waves.

"I remember we played the Whale City final,” the right-arm medium pace bowler, who counts a slow delivery as his speciality, said.

"We'd done all right, scored about 200-plus, but (Maryborough club) Past Grammars rolled us.”

It was then, living by the Southern Great Barrier Reef, when an opportunity that would eventually take him to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as Fiji's national badminton coach presented itself.

"I was the Australian junior manager for the Oceania Championships in Fiji and they wanted a coach for the South Pacific Games,” Munday, who returned to Tasmania in 2013 to teach at Devonport, recalled.

"I put my hand up, got the job, and stayed in touch with them.

"When the Commonwealth Games came up they asked me again.”

On Tuesday, Fiji's mixed doubles teams will start their Commonwealth Games campaigns, the culmination of nine months' solid preparation.

They spent most of last week on the training court alongside players from the Falkland Islands and St Helena, and hope to reach the top 16.



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