These are exciting times for Para-Badminton in Ireland and the trajectory of the sport continues to rise with recent taster sessions hosted in Louth and Meath. Both of these events were organised in collaboration with the respective Local Sports Partnerships in those counties, and delivered as part of their annual inclusive summer Camps.
Badminton Europe qualified Para-Badminton coach Craig McCourtney made the trip to Navan to deliver a session in the home venue of Navan Para-Badminton Club for a group of fourteen participants. In addition to Craig's presence, there was also assistance from volunteers of the Navan Para-Badminton Club, an the importance of this club link on the day is pivotal in providing a pathway for those interested in getting involved in the sport. It proved to be a hugely enjoyable session and Craig had this to say about the event, "There was some great talent on display among an inspirational group of players. Hopefully the Para club in Navan will receive some further interest from today's participants to further compliment the exceptional work they do in promoting Para-Badminton in their region".
Likewise, Badminton Ireland Development Manager, Fiach Andrews, travelled to Dundalk for the taster session delivered in collaboration with the Louth Sports Partnership. Seventeen enthusiastic camp attendees participated in the taster, with roughly half the group playing for the first time. Moreover, a fantastic facility in Dundalk Sports Centre, Muirhevnamore, provided the ideal setting for this session.
"The recent taster sessions in Louth and Meath have gone really well and exposing the sport to over thirty new participants adds to the continued upward trajectory that Para-Badminton is on in Ireland. These are really exciting times for the sport as we edge closer to its debut in the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and the growth of the game at grassroots level in Ireland is rising as evident in the progress seen with various groups in Lisburn, Donegal, Navan, Dublin, and Tipperary. Hopefully our structures for Para-Badminton can continue to grow in the coming seasons and become more sustainable year after year". Fiach Andrews, Development Manager
Finally, it must be stated that it was excellent to have Performance Para Coach Leslie Dewart present recently at the 2018 Coaches Conference. Leslie gave an insight into his coaching journey as well as discussing some of his work alongside Ireland's top Para-Badminton players in Ulster, including his recent trip to the Thailand Para International with Niall McVeigh, as he strives to qualify for Tokyo 2020. This was a nice get to know session for the Conference attendees as they familiarised themselves with Leslie, but also got a follow-on from the 2017 Conference where BWF Para-Badminton expert Lyndon Williams delivered theoretical and practical Para-Badminton coaching components.
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