Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Badminton looking to innovate amid COVID challenges

Published:Wednesday | September 23, 2020 | 12:15 AM
National badminton player Katherine Wynter.
National badminton player Katherine Wynter.

As the sporting world continues to adapt to the challenges presented by the coronavirus disease, stakeholders from various sporting bodies, such as the Jamaica Badminton Association (JBA), are seeking innovative ways to continue sports in a safe manner.

JBA General Secretary Sheldon Townsend says because all local and international competitions are postponed due to the coronavirus situation, there are ongoing discussions with the association’s administration on finding new ways to keep the badminton fraternity together.

“In the meantime, to engage our community we have been looking to launch a new form of badminton, which is called air badminton, which is an outdoor format of the game,” Townsend told The Gleaner. “The primary objective is to introduce persons who are not necessarily known to the game, and that’s a great way to encourage persons to play the game because it is done outdoors.

“We have gotten all the equipment and expertise to test them with an aim to launch air badminton at least as an activity for 2020.”

Townsend believes it is good to explore this new format of the sport, as it allows players the freedom to play without spreading the virus.

JBA President Nichole Case says the safety of all stakeholders is important, adding that the association is currently working on safety guidelines for the event.

“It is really our way to bring the sport to more people, because they will not have to be restricted to having a badminton hall, which means every open space can be used for people to enjoy the sport,” Case said. “And it is not only about getting medals, but it’s just really sharing and helping people to realise that it can become a part of their wellness lifestyle and you don’t have to be a professional, but it is very good for managing your health.

“We are looking at all of the protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the good thing about badminton is that while playing, you can maintain physical distancing for the most part, and so we’re looking at where any risks may be and making sure that we follow the necessary guidelines.” Townsend says while air badminton is taking place, JBA’s executives and counsellors will use the period from September to December to discuss a possible restart of their national training programme for as early as January 2021.

- Athena Clarke