The winner of the inaugural African Shuttle Time Award (ASTA) at the concluded BCA AGM was the Badminton Federation of Togo (FETOBAD). Initiated by the BCA, ASTA aims at recognizing Member Associations that have excelled in successfully implementing the Shuttle Time Programme in their countries.
Through their Shuttle Time Coordinator Mr. Lamidi Elliasou, FETOBAD emerged top among the 34 Member Associations involved in implementing the project in Africa. The 32-year-old, who first encountered badminton at 20, shared his journey.
“Shuttle Time and BWF Badminton For All projects have made badminton one of the best known and most practiced sports in Togo after soccer,” said Lamidi. Since the inception of FETOBAD in 2012, we have introduced badminton in all elementary schools with regional and national inter-school competition opportunities organized for the players. To ensure the success of these projects, we also formed strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Technical Training and Handicrafts, Ministry of Sports and leisure, the National Olympic Committee of Togo, Shuttle Time Tutors, and other federations and volunteers. The integration of the Shuttle Time teaching units in our PE teachers training in elementary schools by the National Institute of Youth and Sports was instrumental to our success. The BCA is also one of our key partners in implementing the Shuttle Time Project, and they have supported us with equipment and the capacity building of our Shuttle Time human resource through training and grants.
As any other Member Association in Africa, we also face the challenges of lack of equipment, insufficient budget for Shuttle Time, reshuffling of teachers by the ministry, threats by, and competition from traditional sports for the meagre resources available. We, have however, made Shuttle Time a priority activity in the growth of badminton in Togo to mitigate these and many more challenges by having frequent competitions in schools and Shuttle Time training and retraining of our Shuttle Time teachers, devoting a large portion of our budget to purchase equipment, inculcating a culture of badminton in schools, empowerment of schools and efficient management of equipment, gradual implementation of the project from the capital to the farthest city, regular submission of the Shuttle Time annual plan to our different stakeholders and the involvement of school principals and parents in the development and planning process.
As a Shuttle Time Coordinator, I sit on the executive board of the federation, and I am part of the team that draws the annual plan and ensures its execution. I am also the link between the schools and the federation. Our Federation has 16 trained tutors who are all volunteers. We plan our Shuttle Time activities according to the annual plan proposed to the BWF. The adoption of the new sports law in Togo with the clarion call to federations to concentrate more on the development and promotion of physical sports activities has given FETOBAD the impetus to reignite its mission to develop badminton in schools, especially with the revival of the school and university championships.
Through this award, FETOBAD will gain credibility and trust from all its partners. The award will also help us get new partners especially sponsors to popularize and finance the expansion of the project.
Finally, to my fellow Shuttle Time Coordinators in Africa, we have been able to achieve this distinction in part through the BWF Membership Grants 2020 and 2021 and the BCA Shuttle Time Grant, which are available to all Member Associations who have satisfied the laid down procedures and criteria of application.
The BCA can support a Member Association with up to USD 900 to organize at least 3 Shuttle Time teachers course per year. Member Association applying for the Shuttle Time Teacher’s Grant should also submit a calendar of proposed Shuttle Time training courses, prior to the organization of the courses.