In a year in which Badminton debuted at the Paralympics, taking to the world stage has seen the sport experience exposure on the world scene like never before.

A strong squad headed out to Tokyo and made history, as we cheered them on from the comfort of our living rooms some 8,000 miles away.

We couldn’t be prouder of the achievements of our squad, who delivered two medals to create history at the first time of asking and this is only the beginning.

Therefore, as we enter a new year, we look at the Para-Badminton landscape moving forward, as it looks to move from strength to strength following a landmark year for the sport.



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Before we look forward, let’s cast our minds back to late August/early September when our team arrived in Tokyo. Our squad arrived all hotly tipped to medal in their respective categories (you can read our full breakdown of the games here)

In the SH6 category, Jack Shephard and Krysten Coombs faced each other, but it was Coombs who battled through before securing a historic bronze after a three-set battle beating Brazil’s Vitor Goncalves Tavares.

Martin Rooke competed in the WH2 category and managed to qualify from his group before his run was ended in the quarter-finals by Hong Kong’s Chan Ho Yuen, who is the current world silver medallist.

Our second medallist was Daniel Bethall, who returned home with a silver medal, something he described as a ‘dream come true’.

“The whole Paralympic experience was everything I dreamed of and more” Bethall claimed.

“Despite the pandemic, the organizers and everyone did an amazing job of making it a special event.

“To top the whole experience off with a medal and standing on the podium was a dream come true and a feeling I will never forget!”

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Tasked with leading the squad was Head Coach Richard Morris, who was honoured for his role in the team’s success by taking home the ‘High Performance Coach of the Year Award’ from the UK 2021 Coaching Awards.

Having been involved with Para-Badminton from its very start with these players, Tokyo was the culmination of years of hard work.

Taking the squad from a place of no funding to Paralympic medal success is truly a captivating story.

As expected, the Tokyo games have elevated the sport to new levels, and Morris pointed towards the idea of heritage and history in the making.

“Amazing, not only for me and my squad to be there to experience that Paralympic feeling, but for the sport to have people that we recognise on the big stage, doing their thing and bringing medals home.

“We have celebrities in our sport now, history, and heritage that will only make our sport stronger and make the team and the programme at Badminton England even stronger than it already is.”


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For the future of the sport, there are moves being made from BWF for Para-Badminton to become a bigger part of the Badminton calendar.

Plans are in place for an international event in Ireland in 2022 which will be a first Four Nations International, whilst England are hoping to follow suit in the future as well; all plans point towards a sport going in the right direction. Plans which can only excite the players involved.

“The direction Para-Badminton is going in makes for a very exciting future. The sport has grown massively since I started and is becoming more professional year on year” Bethall said.

“With the BWF introducing a new tournament structure in 2022, and new exciting players coming through, I’m confident Para-Badminton will become a staple of the Paralympic movement for years to come!”

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How does the landscape of the sport look as we move into a new year? The international schedule sees 16 tournaments, culminating with a World Championships taking place in, you guessed it, Tokyo in November.

Closer to home, the Four Nations Para Badminton International in July in Dublin will certainly be a landmark event given it’s the first of its kind to be held.

We also saw a highly successful UK Para Badminton Championships in December, with more players than ever involved and the quality of the sport heading in the right direction following a landmark summer.

“It looks bright we’ve got really good people getting involved in our sport, that are doing good things and have good ideas” Morris said.

“We’re starting small and things we’re doing are becoming annual, for example the UK Champs was a big success for us this year.

“We’ve got more players, we’ve been going big on the ‘Big Hit’ sessions and Para-Badminton is becoming more active and involved, more integral to all parts of Badminton.

“That includes school badminton and BUCS badminton, and coaches are becoming more knowledgeable and adaptable which can only help grow the sport. I can’t see it going anywhere else other than up really!”