The Badminton Confederation Africa (BCA) in collaboration with the Burundi Badminton Federation under the leadership of President Francois Ndondo held their first-ever Shuttle Time Tutor, Teachers course, and Training Camp from the 29th April to 7th May 2021 in Bujumbura, Burundi. This comes after a backdrop of years of political turmoil that the country went through which stifled the growth of the sport in the East African Nation.
As part of the BCA’s development strategy to promote and grow badminton in its Member States, the BCA sponsored the Shuttle Time Courses and the training camp to revive Badminton in the country.
“Since the creation of the federation in 2005, Badminton activities in Burundi have not been implemented properly due to the political situation of the country. These 3 activities will make Burundi active in Badminton again, and relaunch badminton in the country” said the BCA Regional Development officer Mr. Bernadin Bopke, who conducted the activities. The latter conducted the Shuttle Time Tutors Course from the 29th April to 1st May 2021, the Shuttle Time Teachers Course from the 2nd to 3rd May 2021, and the Training Camp from the 4th to 7th May 2021.
At the launch of the activities, President Francois said “The non-interrupted 9-day activities of this Shuttle Time Training have just sealed the resumption of Badminton in Burundi, the BCA trainer, Mr. Bernadin, selflessly dedicated his time, working even beyond the statutory hours, to strengthen the capacities of 10 tutors, 23 sports teachers, 10 sports students, and about twenty players. We have just hoisted the anchor of the journey towards our ultimate goal about the implementation of Badminton in schools in Burundi: to have trained 40 tutors, 100 sports teachers, and 10,000 players; and to have introduced our sport in at least 100 schools by 2024. In addition to all this, the plan is to design 200 AirBadminton courts in all these schools in the next four years. An objective that seems ambitious, but for us, it is achievable and feasible. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the BWF, the BCA, and the Burundi NOC for making this Shuttle Time training possible. We hope they will continue their support for our next events. We also thank the Burundian media for the wide coverage of the activity. It did not go unnoticed by the Burundian public”
The Shuttle Time Programme is currently being implemented in the region of Bujumbura but soon it will be rolled out and implemented in different regions of the country. As for the training camp, it was organized to give some technical knowledge to players, which will help them after the camp.
The Shuttle Time National Coordinator Mr. Nicolas Bikorimana said “I would like to express my satisfaction with the training of tutors and teachers. The lessons learned from both pieces of training will be beneficial in the development of badminton at the grassroots level, especially in schools. Thank you for all the skills and knowledge you have imparted”
The participants included 10 Tutors (including 1 woman), 23 PE Teachers drawn from 23 schools, Badminton Coaches, 18 Players from 18 to 24 years old (Boys and Girls), and 10 Students who learned badminton as an option at university, came from different regions of Burundi. At the end of the course, they all promised to be ambassadors of the Shuttle Time Programme development in Burundi. Don-Christ Darcy Arakaza Shuttle Time Tutors participant said, “Our great thanks to BCA and Mr. Bernadin Bokpè for all that you have shared with us. Your efforts and energy spent in explaining over and over again will be enormously useful to us and has served to give us skills and knowledge that will enable us to train other teachers and players. For our part, we will do everything to make this training a foundation for the success of the Shuttle Time program and Badminton in general in our country.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Gabin Muhabuka, Shuttle Time Teacher (PE Teacher) participant, “My appreciation is mainly a feeling of satisfaction from the participants to see a great trainer like Bernadin that the Burundi Badminton Federation had the chance to welcome! He delivered the planned program in no uncertain terms! I cannot find words to use to thank the BWF and BCA who choose a young and especially pedagogue trainer who teaches with a special methodology, which will help us without any doubt to ensure that Badminton will be well taught in our respective schools! Once again, hats off to the BWF, BCA, and FBB for this training opportunity”
Before the onset of the political crisis in Burundi, the country enjoyed an active Badminton sport. Badminton has existed in Burundi since the colonial period, i.e. around 1950. It was played by some members of the white community in Bujumbura, and by Catholic clergymen in other parts of the country, such as RUYIGI. The non-white players were the youth of Bubanza who played Badminton outside the football fields. To date, this province is among those that have managed to perpetuate the practice of Badminton through the establishment of a provincial association that currently has 5 clubs. Badminton became official in 2005 with the approval of the Burundian federation at both national and international levels. It became a member of the Burundi NOC in 2006. From 2005 until 2011, the federation was supported in its activities by the Ministry of Sports in terms of participation in international tournaments and competitions.
From 2011 to 2017, the FBB went through a difficult period, which was marked by the departure of the 2010 elected President and the flight from the country of most of its best players following the political crisis of 2015. The 2017 elections which brought Mr. François NDONDO to the presidency of the federation signalled the revitalization of the sport in Burundi. All dues to the BWF were paid and FBB delegates participated at the BWF and BCA General Meetings. Since then, competitions and other activities have also been organized. We note the organization of the Chinese-Burundian Badminton tournaments in 2018 and 2019, the participation in the “Roofing’s tournament” in Uganda in 2018, the participation in the training camps in China in 2018 and 2019, the organization in 2018 of the training of coaches and players with a French expert, among others.
The conducting of these two-Shuttle Time training and the training camp marked a new dawn for the sport in the country and will popularize the sport and spread it to other regions other than the capital Bujumbura.