Many will not have come to terms with how two Ghanaian professional Badminton athletes, Cindy Etornam Tornyenyor and Kelvin Evans Alphous, ended up at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Birmingham competing in Singles and Doubles Event for Badminton.
Having reflected from a 2017 journey for Kelvin Evans Alphous, where he began his badminton career in his Senior Secondary School days at the Swedru School of Business led by the late Ebenezer Affaidu as his Coach. Ebenezer Affaidu was a Badminton Coach from the Shuttle Time Course in 2017/2018 under the Ghana Badminton Schools Project, educating and training teachers across the country.
In 2019, Alphous took part in national events and graduated onwards through national team selections, climbing on a part of growth towards his Commonwealth and Paris 2024 Olympic Qualification.
Alphous shared, “I can’t believe I am playing on a high level with some of the world’s advanced players. It’s a dream come true from me, and I am excited about it. In between the Olympics, there really is nothing compared to the Commonwealth Games. It holds a special place in our sport ecosystem. The Games gave me my first exposure to big championships and a multi-sport event. Coming from a village near Agona Swedru is a privilege, and this will inspire me to do more in my sports career.”
The programme has graduated 273 Physical Education Teachers from 198 Schools across the country from 2017, mastering a whopping coverage of schools across the country. The current Board launched the second phase of Mission 2025 Plan in 2022, focussing on sustaining and building long-term growth is getting schools to embrace badminton.
Cindy Tornyenyor Shared “Never saw myself to be here, in Birmingham, England competing with the world’s best. I watch players and matches frequently on TV and YouTube, and I am glad it feels rekindling like ages ago, but I will use that experience gained here and hopefully carry on with the scholarship that Ghana Badminton gave me to continue to shine at the international level.”
Ghana Badminton, President shares “We are enthralled by our enhanced development initiatives across technical and coaching education spanning from a school’s project we implemented promoting a thriving sporting system of inspiring positive change thus creating greatest decade success of extraordinary sporting achievement by the end of 2027.
Right from 2017, the development team for Badminton in Ghana had partnered with various stakeholders in Ghana and across Africa under the guidance of the Badminton World Federation to ensure that students in both secondary and primary schools take part in activities related to the Badminton sport. The schools Project are entry-level schools and programs for the school’s club’s Badminton, graduating into inter schools, super zonal and the national schools and colleges competition.
The project course educates coaches on how to instil badminton lessons in children aged between 6 to 15 years in a fun and safe way. Participants gain basic knowledge in the coaching of Badminton, enabling physical Education and community clubs coaches learn and teach beginning athletes of the sport graduating toward podium results on the world stage.
The National Federation in Ghana is working work to get Badminton offered for young people in 512 additional community venues and being played in 3,212 more schools -basic, secondary, tertiary (teacher training, universities, etc) by 2025. Providing a new school-club link programme that will provide a sustainable partnership with all schools.
Ranked 185 in the World Juniors ranking, Cindy Etornam Tornyenyor also graduated from the school’s programme in 2018. Having attended West Africa Senior High School and led into Badminton by Mr Emmanuel Otoo of Adenta Badminton Club, her pivotal journey of Badminton begun in this endeavour, causing spiral training and focus on the national level.
In 2019, Cindy Etornam Tornyenyor continued and represented the Greater Accra Region at the National Schools and Colleges, Bolgatanga sports and achieved podium result. Tornyenyor laments her best role model is to be in the World top 50 ranked players by 2027 from now and making Ghana Badminton proud again in Women’s Single and Women’s Double event.
Nothing compared to this year’s commonwealth Games brings memories of how our Badminton in Schools project, which aggressively started in 2017 has survived and we are progressively reaching out to each school in Ghana. Ghana Badminton made its seventh appearance at the Commonwealth Games after their debut in 1998 Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Ghana is competed in Athletes, Badminton, Boxing, Cycling, Judo, Beach Volleyball, Aquatics, Squash, Triathlon, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Hockey and 2 Para Sporting Disciplines, with Boxing winning 2 Silver and one Bronze medals and athletics winning 2 Bronze for Ghana.
The Commonwealth Games is a multi-sport event with a fully integrated programme of para sport disciplines and this year’s Games was extra special with full stadiums and arenas after Tokyo 2020 took place behind closed doors. Birmingham 2022 had the largest ever female and para sport programme in history after a new discipline of Women’s T20 Cricket and Beach Volleyball and Para Table Tennis were confirmed.
Credit: Ghana Badminton Association