The Scottish Queen, Kaity Hall, helping out to develop Para badminton in Africa.
Through the close partnership with the Agitos Foundation, the BWF and the BCA delivered another successful Para badminton technical workshop in Kampala, Uganda. The workshop focused on administration, coach development, classification and player’s education and training.
At the centre of this continued collaboration with the Agitos Foundation is BWF’s Kaity Jessie Margaret from Scotland, and John Shearer, the BWF Senior Development Manager, who have been instrumental in delivering Para badminton activities in Africa since the inception of the Agitos support program globally.
“My love for Para badminton can be traced back to my volunteer days back in Scotland” Kaity confessed. “My coach at the time asked me to come to support local Para badminton tournaments in my area, and from that point, I fell in love with the game.”
Kaity’s first training in Africa was in Zambia in 2017, under the Badminton for all project. The project targeted nine developing countries from Africa to support the inclusion of persons with both physical and intellectual disabilities by using existing Shuttle Time resources. A similar course was also held in Ethiopia and Benin.
” It was amazing to come to Zambia and Ethiopia for the training and to see different countries from Africa represented for the first time, she said.
In 2019, Kaity and John were back again in Africa this time in Uganda, under the Agitos Grant support program. A follow-up on the Bright Legacy project done in 2018, focussing on raising the awareness of Para badminton, coach development, classifier development, administrator development, player education, and equipment support.
“The progress so far has been incredible, and we are happy to see the coaches we trained four years ago with players in this tournament, she added. It’s such a great feeling and testament to the hard work put in by the BWF and BCA to develop the sport.
In the debut of Para badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Africa managed to qualify two top athletes for the tournament at a time when the number of total athletes who qualified was at an all-time low.
“Africa has a bright future in Para badminton with good players, passionate coaches, and BCA is very proactive willing to implement the BWF and Agitos programs in the continent. I was left speechless watching Bolaji Mariam of Nigeria make a historic win for Africa in the SL3 category at Spanish Para badminton International in 2021, and if this is any indication of the progress made, I think Africa can have more players in the next Paralympics, she concluded.
Algeria, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Niger, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Zambia were the countries selected for the 2021 edition of the Agitos support program. Since its introduction in 2017, 20 African countries have had the opportunity to participate in the BWF Para badminton workshops with the support of the BCA. The countries were chosen based on various criteria related to their development level, Para badminton structure, commitment of the association and others.
“The BWF has accessed funding from Agitos to develop the Para Sport from 2017 where more than 200 participants and 20 countries have benefited from the program,” Said John. We are glad to see the development and management of the project in Africa through the BCA.
The AGITOS Foundation provides funding to International Federations and the National Paralympic Committees. BWF would like to encourage Member Associations to discuss with their National Paralympic Committee, on opportunities to apply for a Para badminton project as part of the AGITOS Foundation funding.
The BWF and BCA will work with any Member Association and National Paralympic Committees, wishing to apply for the AGITOS Foundation funding.
” Agitos Foundation support has been very instrumental in the growth of Para badminton in my country, Said Mr. Ibrahimo Issufo Mussagy Secretary-General of Mozambique Badminton Federation, and a participant in the Administrative course.
” The willingness of BWF and the BCA to assist Mozambique Badminton Federation with resources to develop Para badminton has elicited more support from our government in both the abled and Para badminton disciplines, and for the very first- time we have been able to bring a team for this tournament. I will use the knowledge gained from this workshop to unlock more support for our athletes. To us Para badminton is not just a Sport but its helping us change lives.