The school year has recently drawn to a close, but prior to finishing up many schools participated in badminton as part of their Active Schools Week. This initiative aims to provide fun and inclusive activities for every member of the school community. A vast number of National Governing Bodies (NGB's) are partners and supporters of Active Schools, and Karen Cotter of the organisation emphasised the importance of the involvement of NGB's, "NGBs have an important role to play in supporting schools to introduce children to as wide a variety of physical activity opportunities as possible. ‘One size doesn’t fit all’. If children can find an activity that they’re passionate about they will be much more likely to lead active lives".
Badminton Ireland support schools who wish to participate in badminton as part of their Active Schools Week by providing challenge resources, organising school visits with local coaches, and also putting schools in contact with clubs in their region. Colaiste Phobail Colmcille (Tory Island, Donegal), Donagh NS (Carndonagh, Donegal), and Summerhill College (Sligo), were just three of the schools who participated in this year's '5 Star Challenge'. The various components of the '5 Star Challenge' included keepie-uppies, serving into a target, and also the 60 second challenge. With only four pupils in Colaiste Phobail Colmcille (pictured left), they were undoubedtly the smallest school who engaged in this year's challenge, even despite the fact that one of the children had a broken arm! Summerhill College in Sligo recorded the highest overall total for a class of all the schools to partake in the challenge, while Donagh NS had the largest score for a class when combining all the keep-up (forehand, backhand, alternate) challenge results.
Furthermore, many schools engaged in external coaching with Badminton Ireland licenced coaches, an example of such was Niall Kelly and Simone Higgins completing visits to Scoil Bhride (Donaghmede), Kiltiernan NS, Whitechurch NS, and St. Brigids (Killester). This was replicated by other coaches across the country, and we would like to thank all those who offered their time to expose the game to school children nationwide.
Finally, St. Michael's NS in Ballyfermot were fortunate enough to have three time Olympian Chloe Magee call out to the school to talk about her experiences of being a professional athlete and answer questions about herself, her training, and her lifestyle. This visit was arranged by Irish U17 National Coach, Aisling Ryan, who is currently teaching in the school. It proved to be a really valuable session for all the students, Tori, Lucy, and Katie from 6th class said, "The message that influenced us most was, Chloe said to be the best that you can be, to never give up on our dreams, and to never say 'I can't'". Likewise, Kaitlyn and Alex (4th class) said they found the session inspiring and what stuck out in their minds was when Chloe said, "Not to give up on your dreams and to keep going until you get there by always working hard".
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