2011 Person of the Year Award - Johanna Persson (Sweden)


Johanna Persson  is a former professional badminton player with three Europeans Championships’ bronze medals (WD and MX) and the 2004 Olympic Games quarter-finalist in Mixed Doubles. In her home country Sweden, Johanna is recognized as a role model for female badminton players. She initiated and started an educational project ‘Girls of Badminton’, to encourage and promote females within the Swedish Badminton Association.

The focus of the project, which is well supported by Swedish Sports Federation and Swedish Badminton Association, is to support the development of women involved in badminton as a player, but mostly as a person, a human being.

2011 Project of the Year Award - Women in Sport (Ireland)

The 2011 Award of the Women in Badminton (WiB) "Project of the year" went to Badminton Ireland for their efforts to increase the participation of women and girls in the sport at all levels.

In 2011 Badminton Ireland launched their ‘Women in Sport’ project in partnership with the Irish Sports Council. The project aimed to increase the participation of Women in Badminton across all areas of the sport including players, coaches, managers and officials.

The basis of Badminton Ireland’s application for the award was the five initiatives they had launched to meet their aims. The first was a Women in Coaching initiative. Badminton Ireland aimed to increase the number of female coaches in their country by offering subsidised coaching courses to all females that took part.

The second initiative focussed more on the players aspect and specifically tried to open up high quality coaching to a younger generation of female athletes by offering them subsidized places on Irish training camps. The third initiative aimed to increase the overall number of females participating in the sport by offering women’s morning clubs for those females who had young children at school or who were retired. Through this innovative method badminton was introduced to, and embraced by, a wholly new female population. The fourth initiative was designed to encourage and maintain the increased female interest in badminton, all new female club members were given a discount on their memberships. Finally, Ireland targeted an increase in female technical officials by setting up a court officials group ‘Women in the Chair’ with a female Chairperson

The scope, initiative and success of the project earned it the honour of becoming the inaugural BEC Women In Badminton “Project of the Year’. On receiving the award on behalf of Badminton Ireland, Richard Vaughan, Chief Executive commented; "Badminton Ireland is delighted to be recognised for its work in bringing more women into the sport. It is a priority for us and our partners at the Irish Sports Council to increase participation levels. Latest research highlights the importance of individual sports in bringing women into sport and keeping them active so badminton is well placed to make a contribution through planned and resourced programmes".

Cheryl Evans, Events Officer, said that everyone in Badminton Ireland was delighted to have won the Award as a lot of hard work had gone into the projects that were undertaken. Since winning the award female development has gone from strength to strength. In October 2011 Ireland again led the way in female development within Badminton by hosting a Women in Sport Future Series. The event was managed and run by females.

Refereeing the tournament was Spain’s Carmen Martinez Villanueva and the event was run by Cheryl Evans, a member of BEC’s Women In Badminton working group. Umpiring at the tournament was the female, Irish umpire Carol Ui Fhearghail who has represented her nation at the Olympic Games. The event was a great success.

Cheryl Evans said ‘’It was a first for Ireland to run the Future Series with predominantly women in charge of all areas of the event. Along with Carol and Carmen, our female President Breda Connolly presented the prizes, we had female lines people and volunteers and since this event more women have come forward to express their interest in working in all areas of the sport’’.

Badminton Ireland feel the future is bright for females within the sport. Badminton Ireland continue to strive to develop their female participation in Badminton through implementation of their initiatives and continuing passion to make a significant change. Winning the BEC Women In Badminton 'Project of the Year' award was a great honour for Ireland. It symbolised recognition of the developments Ireland had already achieved and, more importantly, it has encouraged them to continue striving to support the overall development of females in badminton.