by ROWENA OREJANA
AUCKLAND — Singing The Lord’s Prayer was the key to success at the
Adidas U-17 Waikato Badminton Open, according to 15-year-old Gaea Galvez.
The Carmel College student said she always prayed the night before
her competitions, but that was the first time she sang it in her mind.

Adidas U-17 Waikato Badminton Open Champion : Gaea Galvez

“I was singing it in my mind after the semifinal match while I was sitting on the bench. I just wanted reassurance, and to get confidence. I just wanted to play as best as I could despite my
injury,” Gaea said.
She was suffering from shin splints, a common sports injury that causes general pain in the lower part of the leg between the knee and the ankle.
That meant she was unable to fully physically prepare for the competition.
“Singing in my mind made me feel relaxed. I was just open. I felt like what would happen would happen,” Gaea said.
Her mum, Annabelle, also encouraged her to pray for guidance. “I know she was hurting. I also prayed that she will be given guidance,” said Mrs Galvez.
Despite her injury, Gaea went on to compete in the SkyCity New Zealand Badminton Tournament as well as the June Bevan Under-17 competition in Australia.
Gaea’s coach, Daniel Shirley, a top New Zealand badminton player, described the young athlete as very committed.
“She has fantastic badminton talent and potential. The special thing
about Gaea is her attitude, work ethic and desire to be a good player,” he said.
He said Gaea would always be one of the first warmed-up and ready to
train. She would practise by herself or call her brother to practise with her.
“She can be the top player in New Zealand one day for ladies’ singles,” he predicted. “She’ll do anything to improve her game.”
She started competing at the age of 11. This was her third victory at the Waikato open and she placed second at the 2013 U-15 National Championships.
Gaea said while she would always pray before her games, she does not
specifically ask God to win. “I was open-minded about what would happen,” she said.
She said she is not yet sure whether she will play badminton professionally “but I will always play”.

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