Badminton Bonanza: reflecting on London Tigers’ recent tournament in Tower Hamlets

“It’s not people who are disabled, it’s the world who makes them disabled.” said John Biggs, Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets at the London Tigers Badminton Competition on Saturday 18th in Stepney Green School.

An intriguing sentiment by the mayor, who points out the disparity between what is expected of less abled people and what those exact people can do, as exemplified by special guest attending Sharon Barnes-Jones, Para-badminton Champion for England. In a society that caters for able-bodied athletes, less abled people are not always given fair opportunities to get involved in sports and activities. While this refers mainly to a proportion of classified ‘disabled’ people, it can also be said about a wider demographic that may not be traditionally athletically gifted.

We spoke to a Pauline, an able-bodied woman who has been coming to the London Tigers badminton sessions for about a year and told us that it is one of few opportunities middle aged women like herself have in order to stay active and healthy. It is men and women like Pauline that London Tigers are trying to benefit by creating regular sports sessions and clubs around London.

Asma runs three classes a week, consisting of a mixture of badminton, boxing and aerobics. Strictly for women only, everyone is welcome, and it was clear from the turnout at the tournament that her troupe consists of a wide variety of ages, ethnicities and abilities. Pauline, 44, who comes from Bowe, says she found out about the session from a friend, and with little sporting experience has found the classes to be extremely beneficially both socially and for her health.

On the other side of the net was the men’s tournament, consisting of players from all corners of the London Tigers’ sporting branches, with a bulk of the players coming from the badminton and cricket teams. Salman runs the men’s badminton sessions, which like his football and cricket sessions are open to all who can get to the East London locations.

After a hard-fought knockout tournament, two teams remained in the men’s bracket; Taaj Miah & Rajeev Ahmed vs Mohammed Babor & Jamil Ahmed. All eyes were glued to the game which proved to be an enthralling back and forth affair lasting 3 sets. Mohammed & Jamil outlasted their opponents to claim the trophy, bringing a befitting finish to an exciting tournament.

The award ceremony followed (watch it here), with the trophies being presented by London Tigers founder and CEO Mesba Ahmed, para-badminton champion Sharon Jones-Barnes, mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs, deputy speaker councillor Sabina Akhtar, and councillor Mahbub Allam.

We have been hosting regular badminton classes for years and this was a chance to gather everyone together and showcase our success in the spirt of charity and health. If you’d like to attend any of the sessions mentioned in the article, contact us via Twitter (@London_Tigers) or our Facebook page (London Tigers).

Senior Player Award: Diane

Youngest player of the day: Aatia Shahid

Female Runners Up: Farhana Riju & Aatia Shahid

Male Runners Up: Taj Miah & Rajeev Ahmed

Female Winners: Quyen Diep & Husna Khanomage

Male Winners: Mohammed Babor & Jamil Ahmed

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