Cuban Badminton Revolution?
IBF is carrying out an inventory of the state of development of badminton throughout its national Member Associations - the first results from this 'Marketing & Development Survey' are revealing some surprising growth rates for the sport such as that in Cuba. Cuba only founded its Badminton Federation in 1994 and, since that time, badminton has been incorporated into the official national sports recreational activity programme. But development of badminton has been exceptional given the limited resources available, although substantial resources have been put into the country by both IBF and Pan American Badminton Federation (PABC) to support development. In fact organised badminton is now played in 13 of the 15 provinces. Of the 169 municipalities in Cuba, the Badminton Federation is active in 79 which includes several remote and indeed mountainous areas. The coach education programme has 109 coaches (83 men and 26 women), all funded by sports organisations, working with badminton. Since the foundation of the Federation a national championships has been held every year and in 2000 the first Cuban International Championships will take place in Havana in March and the Pan-American Junior Championships there later in the year. Cuba already has a programme for disabled badminton in addition to its other activities and badminton gets regular national TV coverage especially when an international competition is played there. In the regions badminton is taught in school, classes are given from 7 years of age onwards to groups of 6-8 pupils and 120 minutes per week are allocated in the cirrocumuli to the sport. Based on performances of the Cuban national junior team, it has been forecast by IBF Marketing & Development Director, Andrew Ryan, that Cuba will soon be the third strongest badminton in PanAmerica behind USA and Canada. He has even gone as far as to say that they can pass these two to be PanAm's leading badminton nation by the Olympics in 2004.