Eritrean National Badminton Federation
Growing Up Years
I grew up in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea. Ever since I was 12, I was interested in sports such as acrobatics, aerobics, running and basketball. My parents motivated me to have a regular schedule to attend different sports after school. I had great interest in soccer as two of my uncles used to play on the national team. I used to watch games at a stadium and train at home with them. I also used to play soccer with the boys in the neighbourhood. Besides, I have always liked to read books and magazines about sports.
I’d enrolled for a course at the National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students (NUEYS) in Asmara. After the course, I began teaching aerobics class part time. That’s when I was first introduced to badminton. I saw people playing in the same hall, and it grabbed my attention. If one gym was occupied, we’d go to another.
It was the shuttlecock. I felt challenged to try it and once I started playing, I knew it was different from other sports. I learned that it requires a lot of focus and tactics. I observed that it is also very easy to lose weight without realising it since the focus is solely on the game. It is a full body workout with multiple benefits.
Relationship with Badminton
My relationship with badminton grew stronger. I was an active player for about nine years even after I gave birth to my son. In addition, since 2009 I was selected as the head of women’s affairs committee of Eritrean National Badminton Federation and later as Shuttle Time coordinator and a contact person for international relations. I still volunteer, working for the development of the sport with the members of the National Federation.
The amount of training, traveling and competitions we go through makes it a memorable experience. Everyone I play with become like family.
When I first started playing, it was because I enjoy sports and wanted to play for fun. Later, I grew a passion for badminton. I then began coaching and assisting the federation. I began to grow a deeper awareness of the sport and coaching grew my experience and knowledge.
What Makes it Different
Badminton is a sport relevant for all ages and even persons with disabilities. I play with my family, especially my son and sister. Besides, badminton is a fun sport and apart from physical benefits there are mental advantages as well.
Developing Badminton in the Community
My experience while developing badminton in the community was a little challenging, since when I first started playing, we had to buy rackets, shuttlecocks, and pay to use indoor courts. At that time badminton was not a known sport so it was only played indoors. Now, it can be played outdoors as well without any fee. Badminton is becoming more structured in Eritrea.
Lessons from Shuttle Time
When I first started playing, I did not get the opportunity to properly learn all the techniques and tactics. Shuttle Time has made it easier for the younger generation to pick up the basics.