‘Badminton Saved My Life’

February 7, 2023

One episode illustrates the far-reaching impact of the project ‘Badminton for Everyone’, launched by Badminton Federation of Colombia in 2012 as part of its Shuttle Time implementation.

A girl student, who earlier had suicidal tendencies, approached Shuttle Time Teacher Juan Esteban Vejarano with the words: “Badminton saved my life.”

It was then that Vejarano realised how much of a difference badminton was making in the lives of his students, some of whom were battling conditions like diabetes, depression and anxiety.

“I realised that what I had been doing for months was touching those who were participating and they were improving,” said Vejarano, who works in the city of Ibagué.

“I have seen the progress that many have had on a personal level, on a social level, in healthy habits and lifestyles that they have acquired thanks to badminton and this shows that when things are done with love, but especially when things are done in a planned, organised and structured way we can change the world, or at least, someone’s world.”

‘Badminton For Everyone’ is focussed on children and adolescents between four and 14 years of age, but there is also emphasis on reaching out to develop new teachers and coaches – anyone aged between 18 and 90!

The ‘Badminton For Everyone’ strategy is being implemented in the regions hosting new Shuttle Time courses, and reinforced in places where it is well established.

“Badminton is listed in the country as a sport of art and precision,” says Oscar Alejandro Vera Suarez, Shuttle Time National Coordinator. “At the beginning of practice, it’s sometimes a bit stressful, but using playfulness with various strategies, new practitioners and teachers see this sport as pleasant, exciting and attractive, but above all, inclusive.”

Another Shuttle Time Teacher, Prof. Emelaine Meluk Valdes – called ‘The Badminton Teacher’ by children in the municipality Rio Sucio del Darién, recounts the far-reaching changes that he has witnessed since the programme started:

“Thanks to this sport I have been happy. Not only me, the children who are always aware of the training, the families of the children who actively participate with this sport see changes in the behaviour of the children, who were dealing with relationship problems and indiscipline earlier.”

Vera Suarez says ‘Badminton for Everyone’ will continue to contribute to the technical and emotional teaching of badminton, turning sport into a lifestyle of both teachers and students, and the promotion of badminton as a sport that changes lives.