Last Friday, a virtual Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing was conducted via Zoom to celebrate a three-year partnership and commitment between Badminton Oceania and Special Olympics Asia Pacific.
The MOU aims to develop opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities across the continent. It builds on previous work and an MOU signed in 2018, where Guam National Badminton Federation benefitted from a thriving partnership with Special Olympics Guam, utilising the Shuttle Time Schools Programme to reach out to people with intellectual disabilities.
The new MOU will target countries like Fiji, Samoa and Papua New Guinea – with the latter leveraging off the inclusive GymBad programme, which shares the aim to development opportunities in badminton for those with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Executive Board and staff members from Badminton World Federation, Badminton Oceania and Special Olympics attended the call, with presidents of the latter two – Geraldine Brown (Badminton Oceania) and Dipak Natali (Special Olympics) – digitally signing the MoU.
“Even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve seen badminton participation in the Pacific region grow by bringing together athletes, partners and coaches, demonstrating the power of sports in building community bonds and promoting inclusion,” said Natali.
“We are delighted that BOC’s continued commitment will help build on and deepen the experience – so that badminton remains accessible and a sport everyone can enjoy, and that is a triumph for all.”
With development at the forefront, Shuttle Time will be pivotal in the implementation of activities.
Special Olympics pledges to support and endorse Badminton Oceania with the upskilling of coaches and Shuttle Time workforce and enabling more participation opportunities for persons with physical and intellectual disabilities. Additionally, both parties will facilitate the potential opportunities for Special Olympics competitions in countries.
The partnership falls within the wider remit of the BWF-Special Olympics International Global Development Strategy 2020-2024 announced in 2020, acknowledging the fast-developing pace of badminton in the Special Olympics world, with more than 370,000 players engaged worldwide.
** Original story first published on Badminton Oceania website by Tom Leonard.