Badminton Life

Boost for New Zealand Juniors

New Zealand badminton players failed to get close to a medal at the recent Olympic Games in Beijing. However, the tournament as a whole had a positive impact on the sport in the country, with more youngsters wielding rackets in the aftermath.

New Zealand were represented by John Moody, Renee Flavell and Craig Cooper at the Olympics. In all, only nine badminton players have represented the Kiwis at the Olympics since the it became a medal sport in 1992.

In the capital of Auckland, the sport is booming and the next generations of Olympians are already being groomed.

The NZ Secondary Schools championships are coming up, featuring the top boys and girls from all over the country battling it out at the Auckland Badminton Centre.

The number of youngsters taking up the sport has increased since the Olympics, especially in Auckland, which has seen a 10 per cent increase.

Over the past year, three new clubs have opened and Yve Rodgers, chief executive of Auckland Badminton, was quoted in the NZ media as saying that around 6,000 students are introduced to the sport every year.

"In 2000, there were 5600 secondary school-aged players in clubs. In 2008, we have 8500," said Rodgers.

"There has been a downward trend in sport but, in badminton, we've had an upsurge. Clubs are having to search for new facilities to meet demand."

She said one reason for the sport's enhanced popularity is the growing number of Asians who are moving to Auckland.

With Asian countries generally dominating badminton at world level, kids from similar backgrounds are proving to be the most responsive to Auckland's development programmes.

Among the better junior players are Novita Stokes and Howard Chou, both top-five shuttlers in their age group.

"The standard of play in this tournament is pretty up there," Novita was quoted as saying. "There will be some close games.

"A lot of people think it's all about how hard your smash is but it's more about control, fitness and agility."

Chou added: "Most people don't realise how much fitness and training there is."

Rodgers said it has been tough finding qualified personnel to handle the new recruits.

"It's now a case of finding volunteers and parent support in the schools," she said. "In the long term, we really need to address the facilities shortage."

Return from Boost for New Zealand Juniors to Badminton News & Videos

Return from Boost for New Zealand Juniors to Badminton Information

Badminton Life
Join Our Free Training Tips Newsletter

Get 2 Training Videos and The Singles Tactics E-Book For Free!

Join the Badminton Life Newsletter and get 2 free sample videos from The Essentials of Badminton Technique and a free E-Book on Singles Tactics!

Badminton Life