Chair of BWF’s Para-Badminton Athletes’ Commission Richard Perot has hailed the sport’s historic inclusion in the 2020 Paralympic Games as a “great achievement” – but at the same time a “great responsibility”.
“The lives of so many people are going to change. The dream of so many players around the world has come true!” he declared.
“Para-badminton is now part of the Paralympic family. This is a great achievement for para-badminton and for everyone who has been involved in its development.”
Thanking the sport’s international federation – the Badminton World Federation – and the “amazing people” with whom he and the Commission have worked, Perot admitted the IPC decision made him and para-badminton peers quite emotional and triggered a flurry of calls, emails, text messages and other celebratory reactions.
“Look at what we have done working with BWF in the past year and imagine what para-badminton players will experience on their way to Tokyo. That’s what the Paralympics is all about. It’s a dream we athletes have had for a long time and it seemed unreachable but Tokyo 2020 is here now!
“As the athletes’ representative I try to help the best way I can and I know this is a big responsibility,” acknowledged the Frenchman.
Perot heads the four-person BWF Para-Badminton Athletes’ Commission which was elected last November in Dortmund, Germany. It is the voice for para-badminton athletes within the BWF, similar to the BWF Athletes’ Commission which services the needs of badminton players. The other Commission members are: Antony Forster (England); Martin Rooke (England); and Yau Tiam Ann (Malaysia). One of the Commission’s roles is to canvas players’ views and feed them back to the Para-Badminton Commission – the main technical body in para-badminton which looks at all technical aspects of para-badminton and makes recommendations to the BWF Council.
On Tuesday, the International Paralympic Committee’s Governing Board listed badminton among the first 16 sports for inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sports programme, thus ensuring a debut for para-badminton competitors at the highest level of para-sports. In their announcement, IPC President Sir Philip Craven said “our aim is to ensure the final Tokyo 2020 Paralympic sports programme is fresh and features the best para-sports possible” and congratulated the Badminton World Federation which “submitted a very strong application”.
The full list of sports approved by the IPC is as follows: athletics, archery, badminton, boccia, equestrian, goalball, powerlifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.
The BWF Para-Badminton Athletes’ Commission: Yau Tiam Ann (Malaysia – back row, left); Antony Forster (England – back row, right); Martin Rooke (England – front row, left) and Richard Perot (France – front row, right).