Badminton players across Ireland prepare to take flight as return date nears
'Start dusting of the rackets and find the gear bag!"
On June 7, life takes another lunge towards normality, following over 15 months of lockdowns and restrictions.
In terms of sporting pursuits, this is what will be permitted from next Tuesday, as Irish society reopens some more following the long Covid-19 pandemic:
- Outdoor sports matches
- Gyms, swimming pools, leisure centres re-open (for individual training only)
- Swimming lessons and classes can take place
With that in mind, SportsJOE was contacted by Trudy Kennedy at Munster Badminton about what the return of the sport will mean for so many in the province, and across Ireland.
We felt the best way for Trudy to give her take on what it will mean to have badminton back, we asked her to put it in her own words. The excitement and anticipation is clear to see.
After 15 months of no badminton, writes Trudy Kennedy, we finally have a date to return.
June 7 is 'Return and Serve' day for all players. For now its only singles play but it is something.
During the long months of lockdown we tried to keep active on all our social media platforms, sharing old archival photographs right up to the most recent play, covering some of the long history of Munster Badminton, which dates back to 1927.
We had a webinar with Olympic Silver Medalist and World Championship Gold Medalist, Gail Emms. During 'A conversation with Gail Emms', she spoke about her career, shared some inspirational stories and gave lots of insights on the journey to those medals.
We also had messages from Ryan Tubridy and author and badminton player Sheila O’Flanagan. I tried to keep our players connected to our sport in some small way.
Badminton is a great sport. It's one of the few sports where you can play both as an individual and team member and win at club, county, provincial and All Ireland levels. We have Grades A to H and you can go all the way to All Ireland level at each of these grades, at both Juvenile and Adult. It’s a sport you can play at all ages and no matter where you go you will find a badminton club, and there is a healthy split of male and female players.
Down in Munster, and across Ireland, there are Masters competitions, which start at 35 years and go all the way up to 80, in five-year intervals. Our sports caters for all and we strive to keep everyone involved in.
In Munster we have 4,000 affiliated members and 92 clubs in the province. We have a very active juvenile development program and I know they can’t wait to get back playing.
For most clubs, their playing season starts in September and runs until May. It makes badminton a great sport to take up as it covers all the Winter months and you are fit for outdoor sports in the summer.
Competitions will be in full flight from September in clubs, counties, provincially and nationally. Every weekend players at all grades will be taking part in competitions.
If you move to a new area, joining a badminton club is an ideal way to make new friends, integrate into a new community with the added bonus of getting some great exercise.
There are great rivalries on the court but off-court we are the badminton community and we have missed the games and the banter.
We hope each member will return to play in the next few months and more with them. So start dusting of the rackets and find the gear bag because we are BACK!