This is the fourth story in our Humans of Shuttle Time series, in which we present the perspectives of those who work on badminton development at the grassroots level. Oscar Alejandro Vera Suarez, Shuttle Time National Coordinator of Colombia, recounts his badminton journey:
I am the youngest of three children. Our parents were entrepreneurs and they instilled in us the practice of sport, family work and hard study. I studied in public school and college where I distinguished myself in community work and sports. I’m convinced that public education is of great importance and society should prioritise it. Sport must have the greatest importance and allocation of budget at the school level.
Early Experiences in Badminton
One Christmas, my parents gave us a set of rackets and shuttlecock… back then we thought it was a very boring game because the wind used to blow away the shuttle.
Then, during my undergraduate degree in Physical Education, I saw badminton in a class and that did not change my opinion.
I did not get to know the sport again at university, until the day I met an old friend who at that time was the president of the Colombian Badminton Federation and proposed to develop a badminton project in the country’s capital. I was honest with him, saying that I had no idea how to practice or teach it.
However, with my minimal knowledge in badminton but experience in other disciplines, I started working on the project for the promotion of badminton and after a few weeks I managed to see the impact that it had on Physical Education. I am now a defender of the wonders that this beautiful sport brings to schoolchildren.
The Journey Continues
After three years of hard work promoting badminton in Bogotá, I accepted a scholarship to train in the Asturias Federation where I saw how it can be converted from a sport to a lifestyle. What I learned there gave me tools to strengthen the Bogotá programme.
I was made coordinator of the Shuttle Time programme in schools, and I was able to specialise in this and pass the Level 1 course. I met Shuttle Time coordinators of the Pan Am region. In summary, professional and social recognition of my work has been wonderful, not to mention the results and successes of training and playing.
Badminton and I
Badminton is my life, it became a lifestyle, an infection, one more part of my body, a motivation, another member of my family.
The benefits of badminton are many – it develops diversity in movement, ability to concentrate, helps social development, and it allows for using variations for training and playing.
A Beautiful Sport
The most beautiful thing about badminton is to see the excitement of children practising and experiencing competition, to see families excited by the great advances and passion that children have for this sport. It is rewarding to see children and adolescents play badminton spontaneously and above all, seeing them happy to win a point or playing long rallies without letting the shuttle fall.
At school it was almost impossible to see a sport other than soccer. PE teachers fall in love with a different sport when they see its benefits. Families discover one more way to motivate their sons and daughters to carry out their tasks. More and more teachers are interested in learning the sport and starting to train.
The greatest lesson has been to be able to see how a sport can bring us so many benefits for my professional, personal and family life.
Other Stories in This Series