If one of your goals for 2017 is to try something new, have a go at badminton. It’s fun, easy to learn, doesn’t require huge financial outlay and can be played all year round.
Waikato is home to many elite badminton players; siblings Susannah and Oliver Leydon-Davis, Michael Fowke and Madeleine Stapleton, to name just a few, but it also has an impressive base of grass roots players.
With a number of regional events coming up on the calendar, this is the perfect time to head along and watch the game in action, or book in to have a go yourself.
Why play badminton?
• It is the fastest growing sport at secondary school level. Bigger than rugby and rugby league combined. Bigger than tennis and squash combined.
• Recent studies show that playing badminton reduces the chance of cardiovascular diseases 56 percent (http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/87260589/health-benefits-of-badminton-touted-in-waikato-partnership)
• With 26 affiliated clubs, there is club for every day of the week including day clubs
• Pay per play is available at the Eastlink Badminton Stadium 24/7
• The sport caters for all ages, all abilities, and can be played all year around. Para-badminton is now included in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Waikato was the most successful badminton region in NZ in 2016:
• Winner of the Premier League competition (Wisden Cup)
• Winner of Division 3 Open Age Group
• Winner of Division 5 Open Age Group
• Winner of the NZ U19 National Team Championship (first time a team outside of Auckland wins the national title)
• Two junior players represented NZ at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Spain
• Two senior players represented NZ at the World Men’s Team Championships in China
Events coming up:
• Representative Trials for Open Age Group, Masters and Vets on Sunday, February 26
• Junior Talent ID Day on Sunday, February 26 – 9am-noon (for kids aged 8-12, previous playing experience not required. Interested players/parents can contact director of coaching, Tracey Hallam by emailing email@example.com)
• Tui Medical U17 Open on March 4/5 – Top U17 players from across the country will be participating
• Tui Medical Waikato International to be held from August 9-12 this year. Players from across the globe will be playing
• Glow in the Dark Badminton for business and community groups on Sunday, September 3.