Stoke Mandeville, the British town that sparked the global para-sport movement, will be the inspirational backdrop for para-badminton’s premier tournament, to be hosted by Badminton England this year.
Announcing the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2015 will be held 8-13 September at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Great Britain, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer highlighted the symbolic significance of taking the biennial event to a place historically linked with the birth of the Paralympic Games. Additionally, the tournament venue is a purpose-built facility which is the National Centre for Disability Sport in the UK.
Noting that just last October badminton was approved to debut in the Paralympic Games, as part of the Tokyo 2020 sports programme, he applauded Badminton England’s “perfect choice of location”.
As part of rehabilitation treatment for injured World War II veterans, Stoke Mandeville Hospital organised a sporting competition known as the Stoke Mandeville Games (thereafter the International Stoke Mandeville Games).
The 9th Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games – held in Rome, Italy in 1960 – were recognised as the first Paralympic Games.
“It is appropriate these Championships are being held in Stoke Mandeville which is world-renowned for its contribution and connection to para-sport. The BWF is very pleased to be partnering with Badminton England which has a long history of delivering world-class events,” said Hoyer.
“As we look towards Tokyo 2020, we are building the global participation and quality of athletes in the sport and the World Championships every two years is a great opportunity to see the rising talent coming through. The World Championships in Dortmund, Germany, in 2013 were inspirational and I am sure these championships will be a great showcase of this emerging talent.”
Chief Executive of Badminton England, Adrian Christy, reacted similarly, stating: “We are thrilled to be hosting the prestigious BWF Para-Badminton World Championships in England later this year, and in the birthplace of para-sports competitions.
“It’s particularly timely after the landmark decision last October to confirm para-badminton as a Paralympic sport at Tokyo 2020 and we cannot wait to welcome all the best players in the world to England.
“The Championships will also shine a light on the fantastic work being undertaken by Badminton England and our great team of volunteers to create more and more opportunities for people with a disability to try badminton, and for some, to begin to dream of becoming a Paralympian. Hosting a major event such as the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships will provide an incredible inspiration to so many.”
The 10th edition of the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships will again bring together the crème de la crème of competitors to vie for the title of world champion. It is expected to exceed the heights of the 2013 Championships which, being the largest to date, boasted 235 athletes from 36 countries. To assist member associations in participating, the BWF is offering travel subsidies.
This event will be the climax of a busy 2015 season for para-badminton players, with a good mixture of international tournaments in Asia and Europe. Action begins next month with the V Spanish Para-Badminton International set for 25-29 March in Alcudia, Spain, followed by the China Para-Badminton International in Beijing from 13-17 May. A month later, Dublin hosts the Irish Para-Badminton International 24-28 June while the 2nd Indonesia Para-Badminton International takes place in Solo from 5-9 August. Plans are also underway for an International in the Pan American region in the latter half of 2015. Details on the location and tournament dates will be announced later this year.