History of Barbados Badminton

In February 1981, a group of friends got together and formed a badminton club using the Barbados Community College as its home. The club was the first such in the island and was appropriately christened the “PIONEERS BADMINTON CLUB”.

Some of the founding members of the club Ms. Gloria Chung, Mr. Chetwin Stewart, Mrs. Ray Thompson, Mrs. Kathy Gordon and Mr. Mervyn Gordon are still actively involved with the club.

Some of the founding members played the game before in their countries of birth and began to import their knowledge to new and somewhat ‘raw’ recruits. This was done by a combination of practical on-court tuition and coaching videos. In fact, so keen were the new recruits, that that they would cycle miles to a venue to watch and discuss the videos of coaching tips and world championship matches from the International Badminton Federation. They quickly embraced the finer points of the game and brought fresh talent into the fold. Other persons who had acquired the ability to play the game abroad were encouraged to join the club to pit their skills against the young eager Pioneers members.

The Club applied for and was granted associate membership with the International Badminton Federation, however, it was quickly realised that greater benefits could be obtained from being a full member of the IBF however, full membership status was only awarded to National Associations and the Club was very instrumental in the formation of the Barbados Badminton Association in 1983. This allowed the National Association to obtain financial assistance from the National Sports Council and more recently from the Barbados Olympic Association.There are four Clubs associated with the BBA, Pioneers Badminton Club, Shuttlers Badminton Club, West Coast Eagles Badminton Club and the Junior Badminton Club.Coaching takes place in a number of schools under the National Sports Council’s Coaches Ryan Toppin, Caroline Vaughn and Paul Sealy.

Through the IBF the National Association, and in turn the membership of the Pioneers Badminton Club, benefited from coaching for players, and coaching courses, both locally and abroad. Administrative courses for its Executive members and Umpire training courses for the small cadre of officials, who contributed significantly to the smooth and efficient running of local and international events hosted by the Barbados Badminton Association.

As a member of the Barbados Badminton Association, Pioneer's Club members participated in their first Regional Badminton Competition in Guyana in 1985. From this modest beginning the Association has participated in Central American  and Caribbean Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games under the umbrella of the Barbados Olympic Association.Two of our most distinguished Club Members, Argyle Maynard and Caroline Vaughn, won the Gold Medal in a Badminton event at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1995. The goal of the Association, and that of the Club is to participate in the Olympic Games.

Badminton has been embraced by the Barbados National Sports Council as one of the many sports to be taught in schools. Today, two full time coaches Ms. Caroline Vaughn and Mr. Ryan Toppin, continue the voluntary programme started by Mr. Chetwin Stewart, Mr. Stanton Edghill and Mr. Asquith Selman. However, the person who has had the greatest impact with the coaching of badminton in schools is Mr. Paul Sealy, who is also attached to the National Sports Council. Paul has taken his commitment to great heights and today is one of the most qualified coaches at the National Sports Council with special emphasis on badminton.

In addition to the Pioneers Badminton Club, another club exists to cater to the growing demand from young persons to learn to play this exciting sport. Shuttlers Badminton Club was formed in 90's and operates from a  base at the Garrison Secondary School. Apart from school children who play the sport, there are approximately one hundred and fifty full time and part time badminton players. Their backgrounds cover all skills and professions, and includes a number of retired persons.

Over the years members from both clubs representing the Badminton Association have brought honour to Barbados from international tournaments, obtaining accreditation as umpires, administrators and coaches. The National Association has also hosted the Caribbean Badminton Championships on several occasions and plans to host an International competition involving the International Badminton Federation.

Author: Mr. Mervyn Gordon