Badminton is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. And West Auckland is one of the best places to be a budding badminton player. Waitākere Badminton oversees the development of the sport out West, with several clubs under its wing, including Massey, Te Atatū, Titirangi and West Harbour.
‘We provide opportunities for people of all ages to play badminton at social or competitive levels’, says Ritchie Marr, committee member and junior chair.
Waitākere Badminton celebrated its golden anniversary in 2021 with a special event to mark 50 years of promoting, developing and playing badminton. The numbers enjoying the sport have steadily grown over recent years. Currently, there are around 200 members of all ages, some as young as five.
Many are social players who enjoy a rally on the court with their friends. However, there are plenty of opportunities for more competitive players with inter-club championships, national and even international competitions.
According to Ritchie, the club noticed that the number of girls participating could have been higher. ‘We were in great need of girls in our sport,’ Ritchie says. And the committee hatched a plan to set up targeted group training opportunities and club play to attract more girls to badminton.
The missing piece of the puzzle was the funding. Waitākere Badminton is a community-based organisation with limited resources. Court hire, equipment and coaching expenses soon add up. However, an application to the Your West Support Fund resulted in a $5,000 contribution to kickstart the programme.
And according to Ritchie, it's been an enormous success. ‘The Girl Power Project has been very popular, and we’ve seen a massive increase in the number of girls enjoying badminton,’ he reports. Ritchie estimates that girls now make up around 55% of the junior membership, thanks to the Girl Power Project.
It’s hoped these girls will continue playing and developing their game and go on to represent Waitākere at tournaments and competitions.
Waitākere Badminton is based at 149 - 155 Royal Road, Massey (opposite the Mobile petrol station). The very friendly club welcomes new players of all ages. With senior and junior divisions, you’ll find the perfect league for your age and ability. Check out the website for more information.