Olympic and Paralympic qualification may be dominating the elite calendar but para-badminton enthusiasts are also busy showcasing their abilities thanks to a range of opportunities on offer last weekend.
Across Saturday and Sunday, the University of Worcester Arena played host to three activities focused on celebrating disability badminton, raising awareness of the sport, and engaging and attracting new players.
The English leg of the Home Nations series saw 32 players gun for 4 Nations glory, with para, learning difficulty and deaf players all testing their credentials against each other in an exciting example of maintaining a network between the different communities.
With an emphasis on participation and the tournament open to even those with minimal playing experience, a new format was employed whereby players of similar ability played with and against each other to facilitate competitive matches.
Towards the end of the weekend there was also a free doubles competition, further encouraging players of all abilities to mix with different communities and try their hand in an inclusive environment.
On Sunday, an inclusive festival focused on providing a fun introduction to badminton to those less familiar with the sport, with free opportunities for disabled players, their friends and families to pick up a racket and have a go.
Activities such as target, serve and speed challenges provided a fun and engaging way to brush up peoples’ skills, with advice being offered by GB coaches Rich Morris and James Elkin. There was a chance to meet England players, including Paralympic hopeful Dan Bethell, while information about disability classifications and how to get involved was also provided.
Sunday also featured a disability-focused coaching workshop, similarly concentrated on increasing opportunities for all to get involved with badminton in any capacity possible.
Local clubs provided volunteers across all the events, successfully paving the way for the discovery of more para, learning difficulty and deaf participants in the sport. The next leg of the 4 Nations series is scheduled to be held in Motherwell, Scotland, between February 14-16.
Photo credit - ActionPhotography