The badminton community continued to work together in 2021 to bring the sport to as many people as possible.
Through creative return-to-play programs, engagement with clubs and players, and the impact of Olympians and Paralympians as accessible role models, the nation’s most played racquet sport has welcomed players new and returning in circumstances that remain difficult due to the impact of Covid-19.
There will be plenty of other exciting initiatives coming up in 2022, but for now, let’s take a look back at five of the best core programs that have taken place this year …
Dan Bethell, Krysten Coombs, Jack Shephard and Martin Rooke were part of a GB Paralympic team that inspired a nation in Tokyo over the summer.
And soon after their return to the UK, Badminton England hosted a successful week of para-badminton festivals across the country to celebrate the team’s success and attract new players to our big game.
Shephard and Paralympic bronze medalist Coombs visited the Sheffield Para Badminton Festival on September 19, when they met brothers Jacob and James Barreto, both with a rare form of dwarfism known as Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Congenita ( SEDc).
The duo are looking to follow in Shephard and Coombs’ footsteps and compete in the Paralympics themselves one day, as mom Kim explained.
âThe boys first met Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombs in 2019, they were both great with them,â she said.
âThey were so excited to watch them in action during the Tokyo Paralympics then, which made Jacob really want to start playing again (after Covid).
âThey then played with them at the Para Badminton Festival after Tokyo, which they both loved. They were both so excited that James had kept asking all morning when Jack (Shephard) was coming.
âThey even had the chance to hold the bronze medal that Krysten (Coombs) won in Tokyo! Jack and Krysten were brilliant again.
Launch of the Champions for Inclusion program
At Badminton England, we are committed to ensuring that everyone can access and enjoy our sport, regardless of gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, background or circumstances.
June 2021 saw the launch of our Inclusion Champions program, which aims to create role models within our community to champion, promote and advocate for inclusion within their local community.
Ten-time world champion Rachel Choong is among those who have taken on the role of champion for inclusion and she told us in October why this was important to her, alongside her existing ambassadorial positions with Badminton Europe. , Sporting Equals and the Asian Sports Foundation. .
âI knew it was important to get involved in various roles and use these opportunities and platforms to help advocate for all types of inclusion, diversity and equity,â she said.
âWorking with these organizations has helped me understand that I am passionate about promoting women and girls in sport, promoting sport and participation for people with disabilities – especially para-badminton, and promoting of racial equality in sport.
“The work the England clubs and Badminton are doing is great and hopefully this will create real energy across England to increase the number of disabled players.”
As the country began to emerge from lockdown in the spring and summer, leagues across the country had to get creative in attracting new and returning players.
Nowhere was this more apparent than at the Blackburn and District Badminton Association, which ran two-hour sessions for just Â£ 1 and quickly saw their numbers drop from a handful to an average of 18-20 – for much to the pleasure of committee members. Andy Howard.
âIt was very, very pleasant,â he said. “I love badminton so it was a relief for all of us to see a full hall again and it was great to be back.”
Let’s talk badminton
In mid-2021, we launched our largest ever consultation with the badminton community and the response has been excellent.
We continue to listen and develop based on the feedback received and are keen to keep the conversation going, while continuing to understand the challenges and opportunities clubs face, while helping to identify where our support is best placed.
Whether it’s specific Let’s Talk Badminton groups, monthly webinars, or the Coaching group on the Badminton England Resource Hub, there are many ways to ensure your voice is heard and we would love to hear from you.
Click here to learn more about Let’s Talk Badminton.
This grassroots social program restarted on May 17th and we made sure it could pick up where it left off.
Badminton England has invested in partners to support the return of fun, low-cost pay-and-play sessions, as well as to establish our own sessions.
No Strings Badminton (NSB) is fully inclusive and open to adult players of any age or skill level.
We hope that it will continue to strengthen in 2022.