Kaity Hall, the former para-badminton national team head coach, was awarded the Badminton Europe Diversity Award at the BEC Gala Awards in Malta on Saturday 9th April.
She was nominated for the award in January for her many years of work with para-badminton athletes and thanked the badminton community for their support:
“I am really thankful to those who voted for me for the Diversity Award, and to Badminton Europe for the nomination.
“I have received so many lovely messages and I want to thank those who have taken the time to congratulate me!
“I love the work that I do with Disability Badminton and hope to develop and continue this work locally and globally for as long as physically possible!”
(Video: Badminton Europe)
Hall’s involvement with para-badminton began following her playing career and she credits the late Russell Hogg for the support and guidance he gave her.
“He was the epitome of badminton” she said, speaking of Hogg earlier this year, “he was the best coach and I try and model myself on him, how I work with players.”
Kaity’s journey into para-badminton was galvanised by her experience volunteering at the Four Nations Disability Championships where she was introduced to Lyndon Williams, along with a number of great para-athletes and coaches.
Hall went on to take the disability badminton course organised by Hogg and Williams and from then on, her involvement snowballed.
“In 2012 I was asked to coach the Para-Badminton Team at the Europeans and I snapped up the opportunity.
“I was then the head coach for the national team for six years until 2018 when I moved down to London.”
She has travelled across the globe delivering workshops for players and coaches in partnership with Badminton Europe and the Badminton World Federation as a Para-Badminton tutor and finds aiding the growth and development of the sport to be extremely rewarding.
“At my last European Championships I met a coach who had taken part in a disability coaching course three years ago. It was amazing to see that he had three players in the event that year, when previously he hadn’t had any.”
Over the past couple of years, Hall has put her efforts into starting up the Anders Disability Badminton Charity alongside Lorraine Byrdie. Although it is still early days, the charity is already making waves by providing sponsorship for promising Para-Badminton players and working with clubs, governing bodies and local sports authorities to increase opportunities and educate coaches.
“One of my key messages for clubs and coaches is that para-badminton isn’t something scary! It’s not a different sport, it’s all badminton.
“We need confident and inclusive clubs and clubs that advertise themselves as being inclusive so that anyone can go along and play badminton.”