In November last year, the Badminton World Federation, Agitos Foundation and Badminton Confederation of Africa successfully delivered a development project in Africa.
Despite the continued challenges posed by COVID-19, good safety protocols meant more than 60 Para athletes, coaches, administrators and national classifiers from host nation Uganda, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Zambia, Ethiopia, Algeria and Niger were able to attend the activity.
The 37 athletes (20 male, 17 female) participated in a three-day training camp led by BWF experts Kaity Hall and Guillaume Gailly. The shuttlers were later internationally classified and participated at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2021, with eight of them finishing as medallists.
The coaches – seven male and seven female – from each participating country had the opportunity to attend the ‘BWF Coaching Athletes with a Disability’ workshop and to apply their knowledge through coaching sessions with the athletes.
An administration workshop focusing on a cohesive national Para badminton pathway was also delivered. Additionally, the administrators attended a National Level 1 Classifier Workshop, giving them the knowledge to classify new athletes nationally.
BWF provided each country with a Para badminton wheelchair to assist in the development of the sport.
BWF Senior Development Manager John Shearer said: “Our goal is to empower and provide the knowledge and tools to participating countries, to allow them to grow Para badminton nationally.
“For this reason, we do not only focus on the development of athletes, but also the coaches, administrators and classifiers.
“We believe this approach provides the best possible opportunity for long-term outcomes and sustainability. Many athletes from the first batch of countries involved in the project in 2018 are now competing at international Para badminton tournaments.”
There are plans to deliver a similar project this year in Barbados.