15 December, 2023

Hyderi Girls Sports Club are blazing a trail in Croydon with the help of a recent funding injection from Badminton England.

The club have provided an inclusive space for Muslim women to meet socially, keep active and get to grips with a new sport.

Shafana Dewji, Badminton England Coordinator and Programme Leader, started providing sessions 18 months ago and has created a sustainable foundation for the club to continue facilitating the growth of badminton.

Recent financial support forms part of Badminton England’s Commonwealth Games legacy project, to improve participation rates in areas of England where activity levels are lowest.

Dewji said: “Hyderi Girls Sports Club, like many community centres, has always had a strong social arm that has encouraged members to participate in sports.

“Weekly badminton sessions have provided a safe space for Muslim females and with the recent funding allocation from Badminton England, our costs have significantly lowered.

“Participation has increased twofold, particularly in the post Saturday school sessions aimed at girls aged 5-15.

“We have also been fortunate to be able to fund a coach to provide tailored training to the girls.

“This December, they will participate for the first time in an internal badminton tournament and put their newly found skills to test.”

Initially starting with 20 members, Hyderi Girls Sports Club now welcomes up to 40 participants per week, where two hour-long sessions are held across two separate age-groups.

To promote the longevity of the initiative, Dewji has committed to recruiting regular shuttlers to undertake the Level 1 coaching pathway in order to build an internal coaching capacity.

And the Programme Leader is not stopping there, having started sessions at local leisure centres twice a week to welcome complete newbies into the sport.

She continued: “I’m hoping that it will not only encourage wider participation from even more girls and women from the community, but also help sustain the play of badminton for the years ahead.

“Hopefully having women from our own community facilitating and providing quality badminton coaching will encourage others to attend.

“Badminton is such a fun sport for women of all ages and fitness levels to participate in.

“I would like to thank Badminton England for giving me this opportunity to take my sports club one step further.”

Hyderi Girls Sports Club aims to develop teamwork, friendship and confidence in Muslim girls and ladies by providing a safe space for sport and competition for a fitter way of life.

Members have provided glowing feedback and the programme has been boosted by Badminton England, who have made the sessions more affordable.

Siyaana Asaria, who attends Hyderi Girls Sports Club, added: “I really enjoy playing badminton every week because it gives me a chance to see my friends.

“It also gives me the opportunity to practice regularly with our lovely coach, who has been teaching me how to play a proper match with all the rules.”

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