August 2011 All News
Bonanzas making a big difference for beginners
Across the summer months BADMINTON England’s Bonanza Series has seen hundreds of players take to courts in Liverpool, London and Birmingham. Whether young or old, experienced shuttlers or first timers, the thrill of competing on a grand scale in venues such as the Liverpool ECHO Arena or the National Indoor Arena inspired countless people to catch the badminton bug.
Nick Rimmer, BADMINTON England North West Regional Manager, reports on the Liverpool Bonanza 2011:
On a normal day, the Liverpool Echo Arena is host to the likes of Rihanna, Lady GaGa and Michael McIntyre. But for one Sunday in June, it became a hub of badminton activity with the staging of the second Liverpool Badminton Bonanza, the first event in the 2011 Badminton Bonanza Series. The Arena hosted the 2009 European Team Championships and the Bonanza is now an established part of the legacy from that event.
The 2011 Bonanza attracted over 250 players, who had the opportunity to play in the same venue as the top stars of the England team who won silver medals at the same venue two years ago, including recent Mixed Double World Badminton Championship silver medalist Chris Adcock. Being able to play in an arena that has hosted many of the game’s top stars is a major attraction for those entering the event.
With the Bonanza supported by the Liverpool Decade of Health and Wellbeing, there was added emphasis this year on attracting entries from those who had never picked up a racket and encouraging lapsed players to return to the game. A new beginners’ category was introduced and as well as using the competition to promote local clubs and community activity, No Strings Badminton was offered as an alternative throughout Merseyside to participants wishing to play badminton more regularly. To ease the transition between the event and No Strings Badminton, all participants and spectators were given a ‘free session’ voucher to be used in any No Strings Badminton franchise in the North West.
The introduction of a beginners’ category was a great success with 64 entries. Typical of these was Ian Morgan, who had only played badminton a few times previously with his friends. It was those friends who persuaded Ian to enter the Bonanza and he had such a good time that he is now playing once a week. “I really enjoyed the activities and coaching that were available when we weren’t on court … and hopefully I learnt a few things! I used my No Strings voucher and have been going to a No Strings Badminton session in Banks. My girlfriend who came to watch the bonanza has been coming with me as well.”
Andrew Caunce, another beginner to enter the Bonanza, surprised himself by finishing runner-up in the men’s singles. His performance has encouraged Andrew to play more regularly. “The competition has given me the confidence to go along with my friends to a summer club in Southport... I hope to continue to improve and eventually play in one of the teams.”
After just two years, the Liverpool Bonanza is now an established part of the local badminton calendar on Merseyside and contributes to getting more people in the area playing badminton.
No sooner has this year’s Bonanza Series finished, and dates are already being finalised for next year’s special trio of events.
With Liverpool kicking off the series again next season here are the dates you need to save…
26 - 27 May 2012 – Liverpool
23 - 24 June 2012 – Birmingham
TBC – London
Keep your eyes peeled for more information! In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of the action at the London Bonanza 2011.