More than 60 players have been participating in the Indonesia Para-Badminton International this week while nearly 100 persons have signed up for the England Para-Badminton International from 24-29 June. Thanks to the sport’s growing popularity, there will be further opportunities for athletes with impairments to compete this year when the 2014 Para-Badminton European Championships take place in September followed by the 2014 Asian Para Games in Incheon, Korea, in October.
“There’s a lot of interest in para-badminton and the number of events is increasing annually worldwide. BWF is committed to developing para-badminton and we are working with our member associations and related organisations to achieve this. We had a successful World Championships last year and, following on from that, there was a lot of enthusiasm within the para-badminton community to have more tournaments,” said BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund.
“We’ve had good reports about the event in Indonesia in which both men and women took part in the six sport classes and we look forward to similar news from the England Para-Badminton International where athletes from Europe will be joined by their peers from Asia and South America.
“These are exciting times for para-badminton and we’re pleased with how it is developing and showing the world what a great sport and spectacle it is.”
Competitors from nine countries – Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore and Thailand – vied for honours at the Indonesia Para-Badminton International which concluded at the Sritex Arena in Solo today. The event was held by the National Paralympic Committee of Indonesia in conjunction with the Badminton World Federation. As a special incentive to attract young women to the sport, BWF offered a Development Participation Grant for female players in standing classes. Para-badminton athletes were classified, according to their respective impairments, into the following sport classes: Wheelchair 1 (WH 1); Wheelchair 2 (WH 2); Standing Lower 3 (SL 3): Standing Lower 4 (SL 4) and Standing Upper 5 (SU 5). There was no Short Stature 6 (SS 6) category.
“This was our first event for para-badminton on its own. This is like a Superseries event for para-badminton, so we were very excited. Prior to this, we only had para-badminton in multi-sport competitions,” noted M. Nurrahman, head coach of the Indonesian para-badminton team.
Meanwhile. Loughborough University in England is preparing to welcome nearly 100 competitors for the England Para-Badminton International and headlining the tournament are the host nation’s double World champions Rachel Choong and Andrew Martin.
Such is the pull of this event that it has attracted players from as far away as Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Peru and Thailand. They will join a strong European contingent to challenge for medals in 23 classifications.
BADMINTON England Tournament Director Nicola Moloney said: “It promises to be great and I urge fans to come and see these brilliant competitors. We have players from 20 nations so it will have a real international flavour.”
CAPTION: BWF home page and above: competitors at the Indonesia Para-Badminton International which was held this week.