Badminton World Federation (BWF) in collaboration with Special Olympics International (SOI) has published their Global Development Strategy to grow badminton and provide meaningful opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to be involved in all aspects of badminton.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019 between the two organisations.
Badminton is a fast-developing sport in the Special Olympics world and currently has more than 370,000 players engaged in the game globally. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, an additional 62,000 new Special Olympics athletes with and without intellectual disabilities took up their rackets and headed for the courts, demonstrating the potential of the sport to grow and reach more players globally with additional support.
The new strategy between the two organisations is centred on four Key Results Areas – Development, Events, Partnerships, and Communication – and will be implemented with the assistance of regional and national partners of both the BWF and SOI.
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said: “In line with our motto that badminton is a sport for all, we are committed to providing avenues of participation for everyone.
“This strategy will hopefully foster the establishment of more platforms to allow children and adults with intellectual disabilities to experience badminton all the time.
“We have enjoyed great success collaborating with SOI over the past 12 months and numbers suggest the uptake of badminton among Special Olympics athletes is increasing globally.”
The partnership between BWF and SOI is already seeing results. Over the last year, 16 new national-level federation partnerships between national Special Olympics programmes and national badminton federations were formalised. Five of the new national federation partnerships supported the introduction of badminton to a Special Olympics programme (Special Olympics Fiji, Special Olympics Guam, Special Olympics Papua New Guinea, Special Olympics Lithuania, and Special Olympics Norway).
Chairman of SOI, Tim Shriver, added: “I applaud the leadership of BWF and it’s association members for including Special Olympics in the design of this strategic plan.
“The simple but poignant act of committing to place a badminton racket in the hand of every Special Olympics athlete will open the door to improved health, new friendships through sport and more inclusive communities.”
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