Posted by James Phillips at 10:09 on 15 September 2014
First of all a warm welcome to the start of the 2014/15 4 Nations season. Activity in the world of disability has never been more evident. 2012 set the bar for more people becoming interested in disabled sport and this has seen a knock on effect of more TV coverage and disabled athletes from many sports becoming household names. In Badminton we have seen many changes, developments and progress in certain areas although I would suggest that with the Paralympics decision likely to be in January 2015, that many people are hedging their bets and we find ourselves in a slight state of limbo at present! It’s all positive stuff though and I know that the whole Disability Badminton scene is very much in a positive state. Thank you to everyone who puts time and effort, no doubt for no financial gain, in supporting disability Badminton and keeping it high on the agenda.
As mentioned above the Paralympic decision will not be made until January 2015. As I am writing this, members of the BWF Commission are in conferences and meetings with the IPC and this will continue throughout the rest of the year as more and more detail is required. It is a very important decision for the future of Disability Badminton no doubt, but regardless of Paralympics inclusion we must remember we still have an excellent performance pathway that leads from regional to National, International, Continental and World Championships. Everyone on the BWF commission has worked incredibly hard to get us to where we are today and we shall continue to push the sport forward. If not Tokyo 2020 then 2024....we shall prevail!
It was unfortunate that once again that the Europeans have clashed with a 4 Nations event. However, I was very pleased to see a fantastic LD entry and also a number of the PD players using the event as practice for the Europeans in Murcia the week after. The Welsh has a great venue in a great city and I hope that everyone who entered had a great weekend.
Euros & Clash with 4 Nations
We have always made a concerted effort to keep the 4 Nations events on the same date every season. This is always helpful to those entering as it establishes a regular date and allows people to organise in advance. Even with the clash it was and has been decided to maintain the same dates. This is mainly as we feel that there should and could be enough players able to maintain a good level of entry. It is clear that as far as PD players are concerned that we do not currently have the depth of players to be able to fill all events, that’s including 4 Nations and English Series. It is also clear after spending many years establishing these events and essential opportunities for players that we now need to focus heavily of developing new clubs and new players. I guess the hard work starts now.
Irish 14-16 November
I am really hoping this year, because we don’t have an English 4 Nations, that players make a big effort to enter the Irish 4 Nations. It is a well run and enjoyable event that has had very large entries in the past. Hopefully we can return to this again and see more players making the trip.....especially those in the PD category. The entry form will be circulated to all and placed on websites very shortly.
I would like to apologise for the lack of ranking lists over the last two seasons. The intention is to reintroduce the 4 Nations rankings in 2015/16 season and to include 4 Nations events and also English series and other regional events.
Development and New Players
It is clear that there is a need now to really focus on providing more opportunities for new players across the 4 Nations. We need new players in all categories and the hope is that these will start to appear as new initiatives from the Governing Bodies start to take shape. The setting up of new clubs and groups will give more opportunities to bring new players into the game and then in time we will see more new faces at the events. Those playing at ‘international’ level will still hopefully play in the 4 Nations events, but there focus will now move more towards international events, especially if the sport gets into the Paralympics.
English 4 Nations & International
The first English International event in the summer was a massive success with 18 countries and over 90 players from across the world making the trip. The level was exceptionally high and it was amazing to watch. With the inclusion of the English International on home soil, the whole structure in the 4 Nations looks great. Local events, Regional, 4 Nations and now international all on our doorstep. I feel it would still be a positive step for England to run a 4 Nations event and this has been discussed and it would also be great if some regional coaches / organisers could run a couple of LD events for the English Series ensuring appropriate levels of events for all. We really have something great going on in the 4 Nations and I feel we are at the start of a new era.
Coach Education – More Coaches / New Coaches
For us to develop new players across the 4 Nations one of the key essentials are coaches. We need new coaches, current coaches and volunteers to get on board the disability programme. Without these we cannot start and maintain new initiatives. The 4 Nations workshop is one day (5 hours approx) and can be tailored to a groups needs. I hope that this season we will once again see the workshop being delivered across the 4 Nations to new and existing coaches and providing training and instilling confidence to work in this very rewarding area. Contact your appropriate governing body. Details below.
LD Scoring debate
Best of 3 games to 21 for all matches or 1 to 21 and then best of 3 games in semis and finals?
We have seen some changes over the years with regard to the appropriate scoring system for the LD category. At all times the issue is time and logistics for completing and event coupled with length of games, understanding and value of best of 3 games for some of the categories and also players having to play to many games. Discussions at the Welsh were as expected, inconclusive; some wanting best of 3 and some wanting 1 game to 21!! The costs for the LD’s have even been reduced to reflect this across the 4 Nations. What I am looking for is some ideas/feedback for the best way forward. The majority of LD players compete in 3 events (singles, doubles and mixed). Currently with an average event of between 70-90 players, using 7/8 courts play will last on Friday from 6-9 / Saturday 9-6 and Sunday 9-3. This is with a smooth running event with no free courts. Think about the issues surrounding all matches best of 3, the potential for more players entering etc. What could this mean..longer hours on court, such as 9am to 10pm on the Saturday and a much later finish on the Sunday. The other option is to split the LD and PD events and play them on different weekends. We are open to all ideas on this. This season will stay as it is so you have time to put forward your views. Maybe there is no perfect solution, but let’s look at it again.
Email Group – More activity
I must apologise for being quiet with regard to providing information through the e-mail group. I am very pleased that EBAD has been very active and all credit to Danny and the team for keeping people informed. By again increasing communication we hope to raise the profile. This season I shall be adding all the players from the entries to the e-mail group and ensuring there is more information flowing.
Future – 4 Nations Group / Team GB / Scottish Independence
The 4 Nations group met at the Cardiff event on Friday 5th September. As ever the discussion was very positive and again with all 4 Nations being represented it gives us a chance to discuss common issues and challenges. The group will now go back to their respective governing bodies and look at the remit for the group and what areas we should focus on in the future.
Very exciting and interesting times with the possibility of a team GB (don’t ask me what Scottish Independence will do to this!!!!) in the new year and more International events on the horizon.
Derek Bathchelor (Eng), Tim Sheppard (DSUK), Fiona Red (Wal), Karen Brady (Ire), Alan Oliver (Scot) and myself as the Chair attended the meeting.
Many of you will be aware that Wales have started a drive to try and regenerate activity on the disability scene. They are looking for coaches, helpers and players and it was great to see Jack Wilson from Wales playing at this 4 Nations. A new SU5 players currently playing main stream looked well at ease against some for the more experienced players. The initiative will hope to support current activity across the classes and also generate new clubs with new coaches etc. That’s a big challenge but will hopefully reap its rewards in time.
I encourage all of you to make any suggestions to your governing body.
LATE NEWS – EUROPEAN Success for 4 Nations players at the European Championships in Murcia, Span. Check out your NGB websites for more detail.
Team Contacts www.badmintonengland.co.uk/whoweare
Disability page www.badmintonengland.co.uk/disability
Disability page http://www.badmintonscotland.org.uk/index.php/development/para-badminton
Disability page http://www.badmintonireland.com/page/21522/ParaBadminton-Overview
Disability page https://badmintonwales.net/disability-badminton