Raul Anguiano continues to make his stamp on the world of Para badminton.
The SL4 player’s journey from able-bodied badminton to becoming a celebrated Pan Am Para badminton champion is a testament to his dedication and resilience. And now, he is ready to embark on the next chapter of his life through the BWF-WAoS scholarship, enrolling in the Postgraduate Certificate of International Sport Management programme.
The Guatemalan’s foray into badminton began alongside his brother Eric, whose training ignited his own passion for the sport. He ventured into able-bodied badminton, long before Para badminton gained recognition, and even became a CC-level umpire. However, life took an unexpected turn when epilepsy struck during his second year of studying civil engineering.
He admits: “It was difficult because I didn’t know how to handle it.” Amidst the challenges, badminton remained a constant source of solace. Graduating from university, Anguiano entered the field of engineering systems, although he soon realised it wasn’t his true calling.
“I didn’t like the work I had to do, but I did that for three years,” he recalls.
Throughout this period, his passion for badminton burned brightly. He transitioned to Para badminton and quickly rose to prominence, clinching five consecutive Pan Am Championships and winning gold at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games. His excellence extended beyond the court, as he became a member of the BWF Athletes Commission, an IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Proud Paralympic Educator and earned the title of America’s Best Para Athlete in 2019.
Despite his successes, Anguiano’s hunger for knowledge and personal growth persisted. After nearly two decades in sports, he felt a yearning to return to academia. In 2009, he embarked on a sports management degree, only to pause a year later due to familial responsibilities. The COVID-19 pandemic presented an unexpected opportunity, and Anguiano resumed his studies, completing his degree and thesis in 2020. The BWF-WAoS scholarship represents Anguiano a fresh avenue.
“In July, I received the official confirmation from BWF that I was selected for the full grant. I’m very excited about it.”
Looking ahead, Anguiano acknowledges the looming Paris 2024 Paralympic Games may mark the twilight of his Para career. Nevertheless, his passion for badminton and his newly acquired sports management knowledge fuel his desire to contribute beyond the playing field.
“I want to continue being in sports, in badminton beyond Paris 2024. It’s very important to have this degree and better support.”
At 48 years old, with a legacy of dedication and determination, Anguiano remains resolute in his pursuit of excellence. He views this transition as a means to further support the sport he loves.
“All athletes can relate to the fact that not everything comes easy but through hard work and consistency.”
Acknowledging the multifaceted nature of an athlete’s role, Anguiano envisions pathways beyond playing, nurturing the next generation as a coach and contributing to the sport’s development.
Anguiano’s story is one of unwavering commitment, transformation, and embracing new opportunities. His journey from epilepsy and uncertainty to triumph in Para badminton and academia serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes and scholars alike.
The PGCert provides unique opportunities for dual-career athletes who choose to pursue their education alongside their sporting career. It also offers talent the chance to learn new skills to those already employed in the badminton family.
Since BWF partnered with the University of London in 2020, 24 badminton players have graduated from the scholarship programme, including Gronya Somerville, Georges Julien Paul and Samuel O’Brien Ricketts. This year’s edition will welcome four more badminton athletes, including Anguiano.