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BWF and Special Olympics International Publish Global Development Strategy

Special Olympics Hungary athlete Gergo Karoly plays badminton at the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.
Special Olympics Hungary athlete Gergo Karoly plays badminton at the Special Olympics World Games Los Angeles 2015.

Badminton World Federation (BWF) in collaboration with Special Olympics International (SOI) has published their Global Development Strategy to grow badminton and provide meaningful opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to be involved in all aspects of badminton.

This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2019 between the two organisations.

Badminton is a fast-developing sport in the Special Olympics world and currently has more than 370,000 players engaged in the game globally. Between 2018 and 2019 alone, an additional 62,000 new Special Olympics athletes with and without intellectual disabilities took up their rackets and headed for the courts, demonstrating the potential of the sport to grow and reach more players globally with additional support.

The new strategy between the two organisations is centered on four Key Results Areas – Development, Events, Partnerships, and Communication—and will be implemented with the assistance of regional and national partners of both the BWF and SOI.

BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said: “In line with our motto that badminton is a sport for all, we are committed to providing avenues of participation for everyone.

“This strategy will hopefully foster the establishment of more platforms to allow children and adults with intellectual disabilities to experience badminton all the time.

“We have enjoyed great success collaborating with SOI over the past 12 months and numbers suggest the uptake of badminton among Special Olympics athletes is increasing globally.”

The partnership between BWF and SOI is already seeing results. Over the last year, 16 new national-level federation partnerships between national Special Olympics programmes and national badminton federations were formalised. Five of the new national federation partnerships supported the introduction of badminton to a Special Olympics programme (Special Olympics Fiji, Special Olympics Guam, Special Olympics Papua New Guinea, Special Olympics Lithuania, and Special Olympics Norway).

Chairman of SOI, Tim Shriver, added: “I applaud the leadership of BWF and it’s association members for including Special Olympics in the design of this strategic plan.

“The simple but poignant act of committing to place a badminton racket in the hand of every Special Olympics athlete will open the door to improved health, new friendships through sport and more inclusive communities.”

Click here to download BWF and SOI’s Global Development Strategy 2020-2024.

About BWF

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is the international governing body of the sport of badminton, recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It was originally the International Badminton Federation (IBF) which was founded on 5 July, 1934, before being rechristened the Badminton World Federation in 2006.

The purpose and objectives of BWF include regulating, promoting, developing and popularising the sport of badminton throughout the world and organising, conducting and presenting international events at the highest level.

The BWF’s vision is to make badminton a leading global sport accessible to all – giving every child a chance to play for life. Its mission is to lead and inspire all stakeholders; to deliver entertainment through exciting events to drive fan experience; and to create innovative, impactful and sustainable development initiatives.

BWF has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with 196 Member Associations worldwide.

Poul-Erik Høyer is the BWF President and Thomas Lund is the BWF Secretary General.

Websites: and


About Special Olympics

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedInand our blog on Medium. Learn more at



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