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words & images: Leanne Gichard

Here in Mid Canterbury we are blessed with many options when it comes to playing sport, but how much does the average Mid Cantabrian know about badminton?  I, for one, knew very little, so thought I had better check out exactly what attracted people to play the sport.   What better place to start than the Mid Canterbury Badminton Club, where I chatted with Mason McGrath, Club President.

So, what is it about badminton that drew Mason into the sport and what reward does he get out of playing?  “I used to play badminton as a junior rep player and was very competitive.  It’s the world’s fastest sport – the shuttlecock can move at over 400kph for professional players, so you need to be agile and skilful.  It is great for eye-hand co-ordination and also keeps you fit,” he says.

On the whole aspect of playing, how long is each game?  “Each game lasts for 12 minutes, then we change partners to mix it up a bit and play against different players.  We have a mix of skills and abilities throughout the Club, so you may find yourself in a game with the Club champs or in a game with a couple of beginners.  This encourages the beginners to strive.  We have a few senior players who are happy to offer tips to the beginners to help them enjoy the game more.  It is no fun being dominated all the time; you want to have some fun.” Mason is also involved with fostering and mentoring young players and beginners and coaching of juniors.

As far as gear goes, if people want to turn up for a hit, do you have any gear available?  “If they have a racquet they can bring that along, but if they don’t have any gear, we have a whole range of loan racquets available for member use, so this removes the barrier of cost for those who would like to give the sport a go.”

The Mid Canterbury Badminton Club initially started as the Badminton Section of the Allenton Sports Club which was formed in 1936 with approximately 15 members.  The Club now boasts a membership of over 100 people and is open to all ages.  They currently meet twice a week at the EA Networks Centre (full details are on their Facebook page).  “The season runs from February through to the end of November, and our subs are very competitive.  All ages and abilities are welcome,” says Mason.