It’s Shuttle Time in the Hills

By Lawrence Machado

Badminton officials are broadening their goals to capitalise on the growing interest among the younger generation in The Hills.

Despite not owning courts of their own, Castle Hill RSL Badminton Club are creating new pathways for their juniors while extending coaching for their seniors.

According to the enthusiastic club Frank Gnanam, things are looking up for their 250 plus members who play regularly at Norwest, Baulkham Hills, and Seven Hills.

“Our primary focus is on our 25 juniors who are trained by Australian Badminton Academy coaches,” Frank said. “We want them to achieve state and national level status in the coming years. We have around 90 juniors in the club and they have to be focussed to reach the top.”

Club members have regular training and games at the Badminton Worx courts in Norwest. Many like Frank had played the fast-paced sport for many years before injuries or busy lives put paid to their passion. Now having rediscovered their love for playing, they want to encourage others to improve their techniques or join up.

Frank, an engineer by profession, was a champion player as a junior in Malaysia and represented Tamil Nadu (India) before migrating to Australia. But in 1995, he damaged both knees due to his sports, and was forced to stop playing.

However, two years ago, the sporting grandfather spotted some people carrying badminton racquets, and this piqued his love for the game again. He asked them where they were playing and joined them at the NBC facility at Seven Hills. Soon he was hitting shuttles like a champion at the Castle Hill RSL Badminton Club and offered to train players on a voluntary basis. He later joined the committee and this January took over as president.

“Many years ago, our club used to produce state-level players,” Frank said. “We want to produce champions again. I told the committee we should have a goal instead of just playing social badminton. We are rebuilding our membership after some stopped during the Covid pandemic. Several players take part in Badminton NSW-sanctioned tournaments, and we subsidise them.

There are a lot of advantages in being attached to a club like ours. We offer seven sessions of play for social, intermediate and advanced level players throughout the week.

We have the ‘Pathway to Olympics’ project for juniors and Saturday Junior Training Program, a highly-subsidised annual dinner, insurance and NSWA affiliation.”

The members are looking forward for their club championships from May 24-27. However, one stumbling block for the club is the lack of adequate courts in the Hills.

Contact details: [email protected]

Castle Hill RSL Badminton Club