National Council of Sports (NCS) Assistant General Secretary David Ssemakula Katende playing Air Badminton during the game launch

The present New normal epoch has called for lots of innovations, alternatives and many forced means to meet the varying ends.

With closed door sports activities virtually extinct in Uganda because of the raging Coronavirus pandemic and the pronounced suspension unless otherwise, many people engaged in several options as controlled small sized games, online involvement for the case of chess and other board games, and the like.

For badminton, the Uganda Badminton Association (UBA) thought beyond the ordinary box since the Government has not yet blessed full involvement of the indoor games with a fresh version of the game tagged as Air Badminton.

Unlike, the normal Badminton, Air Badminton is played in the open spaces on various surfaces as concrete, clay, sand and grass.

The launch in Uganda happened at Sharing Youth Center in Kampala on Tuesday, 15th December 2020, almost a year and a half when Badminton World Federation (BWF) and HSBC jointly this sport outside the Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China, in presence of the BWF President and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games men’s singles gold medalist Poul-Erik Høyer.

With a specially designed outdoor shuttlecock, hitherto referred to as the AirShuttle, there is assured increased durability, stability and wind resistance to allow people to have a more positive experience of badminton outdoors.

Simon Mugabi, the Chief Executive Officer of UBA was flanked by a couple of Badminton players and National Council of Sports’ assistant general secretary David Ssemakula Katende at the launch.

We are going to train technical officials and umpires as we spread the game to the various corners of the country. The rules of Air Badminton are slightly different from the ones of number Badminton. From there, we shall organize tournaments. The court is also quite different from the normal courts.

Simon Mugabi, CEO – Uganda Badminton Association

Air Badminton will bring more numbers to people playing this game. I take this opportunity to thank Uganda Badminton Association (UBA) for the initiative. As National Council of Sports (NCS), we remain indebted to supporting the growth of this game like the rest of the other games in the country.

David Ssemakula Katende, Assistant General Secretary National Council of Sports
David Ssemakula Katende, Assistant General Secretary at National Council of Sports is impressed by Uganda Badminton Association for the new version of the game, Air Badminton

This is an exciting version of Badminton with a heavier shuttle cork. As players, we look forward this challenge and we are ready to enjoy the game

Brian Kasirye, Badminton Player

Nation-wide training starts immediately with the Eastern region districts of Mbale and Busia.

Then, it will spread to West Nile in Arua city and Western in Mbarara among others.

AirBadminton has been designed to create opportunities for people of all ages and ability to play badminton on hard, grass and sand surfaces in parks, gardens, streets, playgrounds, and beaches around the world.

Generally, Badminton is a popular, fun and inclusive sport with more than 300 million active players globally.

It has been scientifically proven that just one hour of badminton can burn more than 450 calories.

New research even shows that racket sports with a strong and enriched social connectedness such as badminton can extend longevity by as much as nine years.

An underlying objective of AirBadminton is to promote these health and social benefits of badminton by providing more positive badminton experiences to more people in more places.

As such, the BWF is currently working with leading sports manufacturers to mass produce and roll out the AirShuttle.

The eventual aim is for the shuttlecock to be played in winds up to 12km per hour.

The new outdoor game is also played on new court dimensions, making it more suitable to play in outdoor environments; on hard, grass and sand surfaces around the world.

Air Badminton launch in Uganda (Credit: Creed Sport)

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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