Badminton Ireland is the latest sporting body to publish a new strategic plan, outlining the proposed development of the sport here from now until 2028.

The development of grassroots Badminton is very much at the heart of this new strategic plan,” said CEO David McGill writing in the introduction to it.

“It is vital to the growth of our sport that all aspects of the game at the grassroots level are promoted. Whether they are coaches, technical officials, or club secretaries, volunteers play a pivotal role in this, and we must recognise and appreciate all they do for our sport.”

“This strategic plan seeks to expand and support these volunteers and clubs. Expanding participation opportunities for individual members, clubs, and schools is also an essential pillar of our strategic plan.”

“With the 2020 Olympic games complete, our High-Performance unit has set ambitious targets for the 2024 and 2028 cycles. In conjunction with Sport Ireland, our new strategic plan sets out to support these targets by expanding and improving High-Performance overall.”

“Underpinning these strategic goals will be strong marketing and communication, good governance, and financial management.”

The headline targets are ambitious in terms of lifting the number of clubs from 344 to 380, the number of players from 13,400 to 18,000.

The start point for this lies in substantial forecast growth in the number of qualified coaches from 55 to 325 and the number of affiliated schools from 213 to 480.

The latter will come about through an enhanced programme of cooperation between schools and local clubs, similar to the structures that organisations like the GAA have in place already but well suited to the indoor hall that will once again be a feature part of school sport now that we are emerging from a world of Covid restrictions.

The main thrust of the document lies in enhancing the delivery of the sport on the ground to a greater number of people. The sport is immensely popular around the world, and given our climate, its indoor potential is significant. It could and should present a more individual alternative to the position of basketball in terms of strength in schools and at the college level.

Creating partnerships with clubs of other sports that have underutilised indoor facilities will be to the fore and the ambition of lifting the number of international medal performances from three in the last full Olympic Cycle to 10 by the one concluding in 2028 will give rise to recognisable stars that can help in retaining those that are introduced to the sport.