Local court hire for all
Local court hire for all

(This article featured in the Footscray Star on March 11, 2014) 

By Liam Twomey

Athletes 115717 04-300x199WHEN launching any new sporting venture, it is important to get the right people involved. And for the team at Play Badminton, they don’t come much better than Ben and Erin Walklate.
The husband-and-wife pair are both badminton coaches at elite sports school Maribyrnong College, with Ben having spent eight years of his career in the Australian National Badminton Squad while Erin represented Australia at both Olympic and Commonwealth Games level.
Now, they are hoping to get the community of Melbourne’s Western Suburbs involved in the sport.
Using the state-of-the-art Maribyrnong College facilities, players will be able to hire courts outside of school hours. 
“We saw an opportunity to open up the facilities and give the community the chance to come in and use the courts,” Erin explained.
“We would like to see everyone play. We are definitely keen to get some people through the doors who have played before.
“Also, we are really hopeful to get some different people in the community who maybe haven’t played the game before. There might be some younger people who maybe don’t have a sport yet or who want to get a bit active.”
As well as court hire, players can also sign up for coaching services out of the Maribyrnong base.
With numbers expected to grow in the future, Erin said she would also look at social competitions and tournaments.
As the Commonwealth Games approach, Maribyrnong will be hosting its own lead-up event, the Victor Maribyrnong International Series.
The tournament will attract some of the best players from around the world. “That is an international series event run by Badminton Australia,” Erin said.
“That will actually pull some players from overseas, possibly New Zealand and countries throughout Asia as well as some of the best players in Australia will be coming to play here.
“It will be a really good time for us, and I think for everyone in the community to see some good badminton. You don’t often get to see it unless it is an Olympic year or Commonwealth Games year and even then the coverage that badminton gets is quite minimal.”
To find out more information on the Play Badminton program, Erin and Ben can be contacted via the website, www.playbadminton.com.au or on 0498 623 111.

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