This Club Focus looks at the UCD Badminton Club, and includes an interview with Heather Wolfe, club secretary, who was keen to share her thoughts on why people should take up the sport.

‘The UCD Badminton Club has well over 200 members from all over the world and this number grows every year.  We have multiple training nights a week and it is a great way to meet new people as you will get to play with different people every week.  You don’t need to be an expert at badminton to join, as we have members ranging from complete beginners to experienced players.’

Badminton in Ireland is a growing sport and may be due to take a great leap forward in popularity with the rise of Ngyen Nhat. Nhat, still just a teenager, is one of the biggest talents in any sport in the country right now and is a positive indicator of the state of the sport in Ireland in this day and age. The older and more experienced Scott Evans also helped raise the sport’s profile, particularly with his fantastic showings in the Olympics.

There are also well-run college competitions which the Club sends teams to every year. As Wolfe points out, it not only gives students the chance to compete, but is also a great social occasion. “Almost every year University Limerick host ISBTs, a badminton competition for colleges. We always try to send a group from UCD as this is always a really fun couple of days and a great way to mix with people from other colleges and play some matches. We also send teams to Intervarsities every year.  Last year UCD hosted the badminton Intervarsities event, which saw 19 teams entered. We also have Intervarisites coming up which is being held in Queen’s University Belfast this year and the UCD Badminton Club is sending 2 teams.”

Of course, competitions are not the only opportunity to socialise, the Club has plenty of nights out with Wolfe citing the Club’s very first karaoke night as a particular highlight from the year.

On a week to week basis, the Club is run very well with regular training sessions. Wolfe gives the lowdown and shows that the Club has plenty of regular activity which is a key part to any sports club worth joining.

“Badminton is held 3 nights a week. Tuesdays are team training nights for players who have been selected at trials which are held in September. Social badminton is held in the evening on Wednesdays and Thursdays and players of all standards are welcome.”

In terms of success, the Club produces talented players who get to show off their prowess in competitions and take home glory for the college. “Every year we enter teams into the Dublin District League. This year we had 4 teams entered. Our Division 3 mixed team are through to the semi-finals and Division 8 mixed team made it to the play-offs.  Unfortunately they were beaten in a very close match against Baldoyle District Badminton Club. We sent a group to ISBTs in Limerick in October. Cormac Turner came back with a win in the Men’s Group C doubles.”

Overall the Club has plenty to offer across the board in terms of catering for all standards, a good weekly schedule, a great social aspect, and plenty of competitions for those looking to move up the competitive ladder.