Children across Birmingham got the chance to experience live badminton and take part in interactive sessions last month thanks to the YONEX All England – Legacy Project.
To coincide with the 2023 YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships that took place at the Utilita Arena Birmingham, Badminton England set an ambition to promote the sport to the local communities around Birmingham, with a particular focus on primary school children.
Badminton England organised a Schools Festival of badminton that incorporated Badminton England’s early years coaching programme – The Racket Pack.
Over 80 children and teachers from 10 different schools across Birmingham attended a free day of badminton, giving many children their first experience of the sport.
The day started at the Utilita where children watched live action, with an international field of players along with English stars all competing for the prestigious trophies.
Children then made their way to Nechells Community Sports Centre, where a team from Badminton England delivered a two-hour festival of fun, games and activities as part of the Racket Pack Programme.
Feedback from teachers was overwhelmingly positive, with the school children enjoying the opportunity to watch world-class badminton and take part in practical sessions.
One teacher said: “I really enjoyed attending the YONEX All England tournament, as did the children. The environment was perfect for bringing a group of children.
“They thoroughly enjoyed the practical aspect in the afternoon. It was a great venue for the event and well led and managed. We will continue to incorporate badminton within our PE curriculum.”
Another added: “The pupils loved the experience watching the best players in the world and the opportunity to try the competitions in the arena. They loved it and really want to go again!”
The tournament and the YAE Legacy Project has had a huge impact on the city and the children who attend both the YONEX All England and the special activity events.
Badminton England were thrilled with its success and are committed to encouraging even more children and adults to take up the sport, in all communities across Birmingham and beyond.
This was the first year of the YAE Legacy Project, and plans are already in place to make sure it has even greater impact in 2024 and the coming years.
Separately, as part of Badminton England’s aspiration to signpost more children to the sport, a £1.00 ticket offer was made available to schools within the Birmingham area.
Over 1600 children and teachers took advantage of this opportunity throughout the week and experienced live badminton.
Alex Lane, Relationship Manager at Badminton England, said: “It was fantastic to be involved in this project.
“As a former player myself, I know that giving these children a taste of watching some of the best badminton in the world at the YONEX All England, followed by picking up a racket and giving it a go themselves in the afternoon is a great way to inspire them.
“It would be an incredible story if we saw one of these kids representing England in the future!”
Dominic Bone, Senior Marketing Manager at YONEX UK added: “We are delighted that so many children were able to experience badminton through the Racket Pack schools festival at this year’s championships.
“It is a fitting legacy to support grassroots badminton in the 40th year of YONEX’s title sponsorship of the All England.”