A LOOK INTO ASIA'S AMAZING PARA-BADMINTON JOURNEY
Para-badminton is a paralympic sport and is a form of badminton for athletes with a variety of physical disabilities. BWF is a member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and since June 2011, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has become the main governing organization for para-badminton.
Para-Badminton players compete in singles (men / women), doubles (men/women) and mixed doubles. Players are classified into “Sport Classes” to ensure fairness in competition. In para-badminton there are 6 Sport Classes, as shown below:
- Wheelchair Sport Classes - WH 1 and WH 2
- Standing Sport Classes - SL 3, SL 4 and SU 5
- Short Stature Sport Class - SS 6
In Badminton Asia, our main goal for para-badminton is to help regulate, promote and develop the sport on a global stage. We do this by continuously working together with BWF, the other Continental Confederations, our Member Associations, the National Paralympic Committees and other stakeholders to keep pushing for more support and inclusivity of the game.
Asian Players Hold the Lead in Para Badminton
The awareness and presence of para-badminton has grown immensely over the last couple of years. Now, there are several Championships that athletes can participate in, including BWF’s bi-annual Para-badminton World Championships that are held every odd numbered years. The first was held in 1998 in the Netherlands, and since then 3 Asian regions have had the opportunity to host the Championships (Chinese Taipei, Thailand, South Korea 2x).
Last year, the Para-badminton World Championships was held in Basel, Switzerland and our Asian athletes have found great success at these games. China ranked 1st, winning 13 medals (7 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze), Indonesia 2nd with 10 medals (4 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 bronze) and India at 3rd with 11.5 medals (3 Gold, 4 Silver, 4.5 bronze).
A few of the Gold medal winners from China included Qu Zimao, for Men’s Singles WH1, who also won a ‘triple crown’ at the China Para-badminton International 2019. Another Gold medal winner at the World Championships is Liu Yutong who won for the Women’s Singles WH2, and was also a Gold medalist at the China Para-badminton International.
The four gold medals for Indonesia were won by Deva Anrimusthi in the men's singles SU5, Leani Ratri Oktila in the women's singles SL4, Hari S/Leani Ratri in the mixed doubles SL3-4SU5, and Deva A/Hafiz B in the men's doubles SU5. Indian player Manasi Joshi also made history as she clinches her first Gold at the World Championships in the SL3 category, defeating world champion Parul Parmar 21-12,21-7.
The Growth of Para Badminton Events
The Para-badminton World Championships aren’t the only Para-badminton events that are held, as continental championships such as the China International are held in even numbered years. Para-badminton is also featured in multi-sporting events like the Asian Para Games and the ASEAN Para Games. The first ever Asian Para games was held in 2010 in Guangzhou, China and has since been held every 4 years in other countries such as South Korea and Indonesia. The latest Asian Para Games held in 2018, saw China, Indonesia and India dominating the medals table again for badminton. We hope that these countries continue their success and other athletes from various countries follow in their path.
Despite the growth of Para-badminton, there’s still a lot to be done. The fact that the inclusion of Paralympic athletes has only been done in recent years and that major sporting events such as the Asian Para Games were only held 10 years ago says that the push for more inclusion should still be at the forefront of our goals.
Next year in 2021, we will take an even bigger leap forward. For the first time in history, badminton will be featured as an official sport at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Para-badminton has been allocated 90 athlete slots across 14 medal events for the games, including opportunities for “wheelchair players (6 medal events), standing players (7 medal events) and short stature players (1 medal event for men)”. This has been a long time coming, and we are so excited for all of our athletes to participate in this major global event.
We should all continue to push forward to regulate, promote and develop para-badminton and its athletes. Badminton as a sport itself, is a sport for everyone. Anyone can play badminton, doesn’t matter the age, gender and physical ability. It is a sport that is accessible to all. BWF has a “one sport - one team” philosophy, meaning that both badminton and para-badminton will succeed and move forward together.