Inclusive Sport Badminton Zooming in on Arab Region

June 11, 2020

Building on the success of the Special Olympics World Games the UAE hosted in 2019, a virtual seminar – to promote and develop badminton as an inclusive sport – was organised in collaboration by Shuttle Time Dubai and UAE Special Olympics on 18 May 2020 through the Zoom application.

Intended to educate coaches working with players with intellectual disabilities (IDs) and targeting those from Arab-speaking countries, it attracted more than 130 coaches from the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq.

The one-and-half hour session’s content was driven mainly from the BWF Shuttle Time Schools programme and BWF Coach Education programme. The session covered areas such as the introduction of Special Olympics movement, coaching players with ID, simplified laws of badminton as well as the introduction of the BWF Shuttle Time Schools programme.

The feedback was positive from the participants, who noted the seminar was very useful for their coaching sessions. The coaches found Shuttle Time to be an inclusive and handy tool to coach players with ID – the variety and simplicity of the activities make it an ideal programme for mentally challenged individuals.

Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of the UAE Special Olympics, said that the organisation works to promote the concept of unified sports, which is based on the principle of joining people with and without intellectual disabilities in the same team to increase social inclusion and build friendships.

“And badminton is an excellent option according to the latest study by the International Special Olympics, as it has become the most prevalent sport among Special Olympic athletes around the world since 2014. It is also safe, with a low risk level for all ages and different groups.”

“The necessary motor skills are developed alongside communication and integration between different groups of society within the Unified Sports programme. Unified Sports also aims to affirm the principle of equality and partnership and that there is no difference between a person with or without mental disability in one team.”

BWF’s Dubai Development Project Manager Jaffer Ebrahim expressed happiness over the positive reactions from the seminar. Jaffer said badminton coaches in the UAE and Arab countries are now able to prepare and deliver more inclusive programmes to develop the technical level of players.

For inquiries regarding badminton development in the Arab region, please contact Jaffer Ebrahim ([email protected]).