Badminton World Federation President Poul-Erik Høyer has hailed a new proclamation as “an important opportunity to support the Special Olympics community and to grow the sport in a new and untapped direction”.
Speaking yesterday following a signing ceremony and on-court demonstration by Special Olympics International, he stressed the world-governing body’s responsibility to reach out to all sectors of badminton’s global fraternity and offer assistance wherever and however possible.
“We have seen the activities which Special Olympics International has already created and we believe together, with our expertise, we can get more people playing badminton which is our collective goal,” he said.
In this regard, BWF will support coach training and education within the Special Olympics workforce on a regional basis, utilising the BWF grassroots development programme, Shuttle Time.
“Shuttle Time is offered in 17 languages now and this allows us to share these resources with many nationalities globally. We are pleased that Special Olympics has seen a value in our programme and we look forward to working with our colleagues in building badminton in Special Olympics community.”
Chief of Sports for Special Olympics International, Lee Todd, joined Høyer in signing the proclamation, noting that Shuttle Time “can provide guidance and structure for athletes and coaches in the Special Olympics world”.
“Special Olympics is delighted to have the support of the Badminton World Federation as we strive to share the benefits and grow the great sport of badminton with our 4.5 million athletes, 1 million coaches and thousands of sport officials through expanded competition opportunities. Already there are more than 110,000 Special Olympics badminton athletes being trained by 20,000 coaches across 69 countries,” he said, adding that partnering with BWF presents the potential to “double our programme”.
“Through this agreement, Special Olympics will now be able to further promote the development and enhancement of badminton, leading to more opportunities for our athletes and the training of Special Olympics athletes as officials. It is a truly significant partnership for us and we are grateful to the Badminton World Federation for their support.”
Yesterday’s signing took place ahead of the Yonex French Open 2015 finals at Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris and was marked by a brief demonstration, with two French Special Olympics badminton athletes, Guillaume Roy and Yoann Devidts, playing with French national representatives, Pierrick Cajot and Thomas Vallez. The Special Olympics athletes also presented the shuttle for the first final – Mixed Doubles – to the umpire.
Featured image: BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer (left) and Chief of Sports for Special Olympics International, Lee Todd, sign the proclamation between the Badminton World Federation and Special Olympics International.