The staging of Para badminton at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games marks a huge moment for the sport. Just as badminton’s debut at the Barcelona Olympic Games of 1992 proved to be a defining point in its popularity worldwide, Para badminton’s inclusion at Tokyo 2020 is expected to propel it to greater heights.
However, Para badminton’s debut at the Paralympics did not happen overnight. The sport has had a fairly long and eventful journey in its quest to make the Paralympics. We look at the most significant moments in this journey:
(Over the years, Parabadminton was renamed Para-Badminton and finally Para badminton.)
♦The first governing body for Para badminton was the International Badminton Association for Disabled (IBAD), which was founded on 17 June 1995 in Stoke Mandeville (England) as the organising body for disabled badminton at the international level. The founding countries were Croatia, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Russia and Switzerland.
♦At the General Assembly on 10 June 2000, the IBAD statutes and regulations were revised to align the rules and regulations with those of the International Badminton Federation (IBF, later the Badminton World Federation).
The next decade
♦In 2001, IBF expressed its wish to help IBAD made the Paralympics of 2008.
A meeting between IBF and IBAD happened on 14 July 2005 at the IBF headquarters in Cheltenham. Jim Frere and Jim Mackay of IBAD and Torsten Berg and Lindsey Bell of IBF met to produce a joint presentation to IPC for recognition of Parabadminton as a Paralympic sport. The application was eventually unsuccessful.
♦On 9 October 2008, the first key meeting for deeper cooperation between IBAD and BWF took place. Torsten Berg (BWF Vice-President) and Paul Kurzo (Interim President IBAD) met for the first time in Lausanne to discuss ideas and future perspectives.
♦In 2009, three workshops were held under the slogan “One Sport – One Team” with the aim of integrating IBAD into BWF.
♦During the IBAD World Championships in Seoul, the Annual General Assembly of IBAD took place on 9 September 2009. BWF was represented by Paisan Rangsikitpho (BWF Deputy President) and Torsten Berg.
IBAD agreed in principle to the integration into BWF. At the same time, the change of name from IBAD to PBWF (Parabadminton World Federation) was decided.
♦A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by BWF President Dr Kang Young Joong and PBWF President Paul Kurzo on 14 May 2010. An official BWF Parabadminton Working Group was established with four BWF and five PBWF representatives.
The PBWF President was allowed to attend BWF Board meetings from May 2010 onwards as Chair of the Para badminton Commission.
Integration of PBWF Into BWF
♦At the BWF General Assembly, 28 May 2011, in Qingdao (China), the amendments to the Statutes were accepted by the member countries and nothing more stood in the way of the integration of PBWF into BWF.
♦A few days later, on 3 June 2011, the following points were voted on at the PBWF General Assembly in Dortmund (Germany):
With the votes of 28 May 2011 (BWF) and 3 June 2011 (PBWF), the governing body of Para badminton ceased to be an independent body after 16 years. Para badminton would be under the umbrella of BWF and the Para badminton federation was dissolved.
At the BWF General Assembly on 28 May 2011 in Qingdao (China), among other things, the amendments to the Statutes for the integration of Para badminton were passed.
From 2013 onwards, the Vice-President would be elected by the BWF General Assembly for a four-year term. At their next meeting, the BWF Board appointed the former IBAD President as the new BWF Board member in this position, which has since been renamed ‘Vice President Para Badminton’.
On 12 June 2014, the international federation meeting at the IPC headquarters in Bonn was attended by: BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer; BWF Vice President Para-Badminton; Dr Silvia Albrecht (Head of Classification); Günter Klützke (Para Badminton Commission) and Stuart Borrie, BWF Director of Operations.
The discussions with IPC representatives were on integration for Tokyo Paralympics 2020.
Para badminton and Taekwondo were the only new summer sports federations selected by the IPC to participate in Phase II of the process. This ended with the submission of the application on 25 July 2014.
♦On 5 October 2014, the various IFs were allowed to present their sport to the IPC Governing Board. For BWF, the following people were involved in the presentation: BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer, Vice President Para-Badminton Paul Kurzo and BWF Director of Operations Stuart Borrie.
♦On 31 January 2015, IPC announced the sports for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
♦In November that year, Høyer and Paul Kurzo attended the IPC General Assembly in Mexico City.
♦On 15 November 2015, the IPC General Assembly in Mexico City confirmed BWF as a new IPC member.
♦The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medal event programme was announced on 4 September 2017.
The eventful journey had borne fruit and Para badminton was confirmed as a medal sport.