Badminton New Zealand will showcase a new event in 2019, bringing the national secondary and tertiary championships together in a festival event held at the Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua. The event will also include coaching and development clinics, providing students and education providers with the opportunity to further grow their badminton abilities.
The announcement of this event follows closely on from the recent MOU between the New Zealand Secondary School Sports Council (NZSSSC) and University and Tertiary Sport New Zealand (UTSNZ), which seeks to enable and deliver opportunities to retain school leavers in sport and create sustainable sporting pathways between secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
Sarah Anderson, Executive Director of UTSNZ believes the event has great potential.
“Our hope is that this joint venture will make more secondary school students aware of our inter-tertiary competition and showcase the opportunity they will have in the future to keep playing badminton to a high level. Our aim is to see numbers grow in the 18-24 age bracket, at both a competitive and participation level.”
Each year, over 10,000 secondary school students participate in badminton at school and over 250 players competed at the secondary school national championships in September. At tertiary level, the number of players competing drops significantly – a challenge shared by many sports bodies around the country.
Keeping players in sport is a big driver for Garry Carnachan, Executive Director of NZSSSC.
“With the move from secondary to tertiary education being a significant transition point for students, we are really pleased to be involved with UTSNZ in using NZSS events as a connection into tertiary sport. Tertiary sport now has some high-quality opportunities and it makes real sense to promote these to school athletes. Badminton numbers continue to climb in secondary schools and we are really excited about the potential that this event has.”
Badminton New Zealand is piloting the combined championships to build on the significant growth of badminton in secondary schools and strengthen the pathway for players to continue playing once they leave school.
“This new event gives us a great opportunity to connect with a huge base of players and show them the pathway to keep playing badminton. We’re excited to be leading the way and hope this event will be a success that other sports can learn from,” says Joe Hitchcock, Chief Executive of Badminton New Zealand.
“I think there will be a great atmosphere with so many players involved, and it will build to a truly exciting climax as the top players in the country at secondary and tertiary level compete in the finals, cheered on by crowds of their peers,” Hitchcock continues.
As well as the continuity of sporting opportunities for school leavers, there are benefits to higher education and public health in this joined-up approach between secondary schools and tertiary institutions.
“Many high-schoolers look at which tertiary institutions they want to go to early on, but unless they are at the very top of their sport, they don’t necessarily consider sporting opportunities and pathways that exist there. This tournament may change that for talented badminton players,” says Anderson.
“In addition, it’s really important to keep active between the ages of 18-24 as this is when motivation and energy levels drop and lifestyles change significantly. The research shows that keeping active and socially connected is good for their general wellbeing as well as the positive impact it has on academic performance and employability.”
The combined New Zealand Secondary School and Tertiary Badminton Championships will take place in Porirua from 2 to 5 September 2019, with an estimated 400 players competing in over 1200 matches.
Article added: Wednesday 21 November 2018