A number of inclusive taster sessions have been held nationwide in recent weeks with participants in the Dublin Swifts (Dublin), the Kingdom Wheelblasters (Kerry), and a variety of service groups in Tipperary, all provided with the opportunity to sample Badminton.
1. Dublin Swifts – April 09th
The Dublin Swifts are an Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) club based in IWA headquarters in Clontarf. Having never previously played Badminton, the group were introduced to the game on Sunday, April 09th, as Badminton Ireland tutor Tony Robinson delivered a taster session to a group of ten participants. Tony was ably supported on the day by his wife Evelyn, BI Development Officer Fiach Andrews, and all present volunteers and coaches who lead activities in the club. Ten club members got to try the game with the age range of participants ranging between the ages of six and twenty-four.
“The Dublin Swifts group thoroughly enjoyed the session Tony delivered to them and there has been some really positive feedback since the event from members of the club. There was a great appetite for the game among the participants and we hope to link up with the club again in the near future to develop this connection further and support them in any way we can. These are exciting times for Para-Badminton in Ireland and links such as this one with the Dublin Swifts are essential for us as we continue to strive to raise the profile of the game, enhance our structures, and increase the participation base nationwide”. - Fiach Andrews, Development Officer for Badminton Ireland
2. Kingdom Wheelblasters – April 29th
Regina Scally travelled to Tralee on April 29th to deliver a taster session to an enthusiastic group of fifteen participants from the Kingdom Wheelblasters (IWA) group in Tralee, Co. Kerry. There was a slightly different approach adopted for the start of this taster session as for half an hour prior to the arrival of the players, Regina provided the coaches and leaders with an insight to the activities she was going to implement on the day. The idea behind this was that the club leaders would be educated in terms of the type of activities that they can implement on a weekly basis within the club.
Regina then hosted a taster session for ninety minutes as the Kingdom Wheelblasters club members got an introduction to badminton, learned the fundamentals of the game, tested themselves with various challenges, and also were provided with information on the upcoming Irish Para Badminton International.
I thoroughly enjoyed leading my first taster session - it was fantastic. I felt a real sense of achievement that I accomplished my mission in promoting Para-Badminton to this young, energetic, and highly motivated group. The interest and potential shown in the session was so inspiring for me and knowing that Para-Badminton will now become part of the club's Saturday sessions gives me great hope for the future of Para-Badminton in Ireland." - Regina Scally, Coach
3. Nenagh BC, Tipperary – May 04th
In conjunction with the Tipperary Sports Partnership and Nenagh Badminton Club, a taster session was held on May 04th in Nenagh College. Badminton Ireland were extremely grateful to the school for making their Sports Hall available during opening hours and it proved to be a central location for the four service groups who travelled from various parts of the county to take part on the day. Twenty participants took part in activities lead by Nenagh BC coaches Richard Hudson, Sudhir Maharaj, and Miklos Heveli over the course of two hours, and the large numbers in attendance were a testament to the time and effort invested by Elaine Cullinane and Sharon McLoughney from the Sports Partnership to recruit players for the event.
Following the warm-up delivered by Miklos, the athletes were put through their paces with various facets of the game by all of the coaches and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event as a whole which was evident in the number of smiles on faces from everyone who left the hall that day, from the players to the service leaders who also joined in with activities. Tipperary Sports Partnership along with Nenagh BC are now aiming to link up and run with a six week programme in the coming months to follow-up on the success of the event.
"We at Nenagh Badminton Club were extremely honoured and excited to welcome a fantastic group of participants to the inclusive badminton taster session held in Nenagh College. Coaches Richard Huson, Miklos Heveli, and I were delighted with the eagerness and energy of the participants, and we enjoyed the session just as much as the participants themselves. It was a great learning experience for ourselves in terms of adapting activities to suit the needs of the groups. We look forward to seeing these athletes and their peers again, and would be keen to facilitate such sessions again in the future!" - Sudhir Maharaj, Nenagh Badminton Club
The next upcoming taster session is taking place in Cavan on June 21st as the IWA groups in Cavan and Navan are attending a session which is being lead by Badminton Ireland licenced coach Terry Conroy.
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