Badminton Europe (BEC) established its Women in Badminton Commission back in 2010 with the goal of promoting women´s participation in badminton, strengthening and establishing the role of women in the European badminton community.
One of the projects going on within this Commission is the ´Women in the Spotlight´ initiative. BEC spoke to numerous inspiring ladies in the European badminton community to get to know them better and find out more about their participation and motivation for badminton. To date, the interviewees were elite players, coaches, technical officials and administrators.
For the May edition, BEC spoke to Irina Serbina from Moldova who is also the recipient of the BEC Women in Badminton Scholarship at the 2016 BEC Congress which took place in Podcetrtek, Slovenia.
BEC: Tell us more about yourself and how did you get involved with badminton?
I am a Biology and Chemistry teacher. I've been playing badminton for many years and try always to play in our spare time. I love everything connected to it, whether it is professional competitions or volunteering. Some of the reasons why I want to get involved in badminton volunteering are - as well as giving something back to our sport, volunteering increases confidence and self esteem, enables you to meet new people and make friends, helps improve our organization and team working skills, gives you invaluable experience in different roles, helps to develop transferable skills and provides new challenges.
Irina and her colleagues at an event organized by the Moldavian Badminton Federation
BEC: How long have you been working with the Moldovian Badminton Federation and what are your responsibilities within the federation?
I’ve been a member of Badminton Federation Council for 7 years. Now I hold the position of the Press Secretary and I am also responsible for social media content.
Because our team is quite small I have to do a big variety of different things. First of all I am a photographer. This is my voluntarily responsibility. I do not deal with teaching children how to play badminton but I am responsible for organizing different sport events. We take part in organization of children's festivals and flash mobs.
BEC: Can you please share with us about your experience at the 2016 BEC Congress in April?
I was very happy to attend this event. I had a good chance to develop new collaboration and make new friends. I discovered Fitminton. It looks like a lot of fun and I think it has a big and successful future. I would love it to be involved in it as a warm-up before the game in badminton. I enjoyed the Russian program "Badminton and Vision", which was presented by Mr. Shahray. I would like to organize a similar event in Moldova.
Irina, (fifth from left) at a badminton promotion event in Moldova
BEC: What have been your best and most memorable memories since working with the Moldovian Badminton Federation?
I am pleased to recall many of our events. I like our flash mobs. We support SOLIBAD DAY and other charity events for several years now. They have turned into a kind of badminton holidays. At one Solibad Day we have teamed up with the program "Moldova is looking for talent." There were three courts on a square where anyone could try to play the game. We showed videos about badminton on the big screen. We had a fashion and badminton accessories show in collaboration with BABOLAT. We handed out flyers and collected signatures in support of badminton. It was so much fun!
BEC: Why did you choose to work with badminton and how has the journey been?
As an amateur player, I was interested in this sport being promoted more in Moldova. Unfortunately, nowadays badminton is not budgeted by the state. I`m trying to change that. I work in a team of passionate people and we all have same goals. This is our child, whom we raise and will be glad in his victories. I enjoy seeing the progress. We still need to increase the amount of material and technical basis for the development of badminton in Moldova. For our top players I would also like to be able to create better conditions for their training. We don`t have a specialized gym for badminton.
BEC: If you were not a sports administrator, what would be your profession?
Good question. I guess I would have worked in the field of journalism. But I would like to work as full-time administrator. This work requires full-time commitment and energy.
BEC: Which woman within badminton do you currently admire the most and why?
Today I like the Stoeva sisters from Bulgaria very much. But the greatest inspiration for me is my friend Aliona Apostaliuc. She is a winner of many national tournaments and also a mother of three children. One month after she gave birth to her third child she was already on the court. She brings her children to the court and trains with them. I am very proud of her and her commitment to badminton inspires me.
BEC: What are your upcoming badminton projects that you are working on?
Currently I’m focused on what I can do to improve badminton situation in Moldova. I`m interested in the growing commercial opportunities for our sport and the main award is success of those who took this road with us. Ideas, plans, new goals and horizons. I have interest in many projects but no matter how much we have achieved, there's yet more ahead of us!
BEC: Apart from badminton, what are your other hobbies/passion?
My interest is in environmental protection. I`m a member of a Republican Youth Center “Gutta-Club”. It is a national socially useful independent non-profit non-governmental organization. The main priority is eco-education of the youth and facilitation in solving eco-problems. But everywhere and every eco-events I go I take a racket and a shuttlecock to involve more people into this fascinating game. Why is ecology mportant? More then 10 years the Olympic community as well as other sports communities of Europe recognized ecology as one of the key components of sustainable development of interest to practice sports among children and grown up athletes. Olympic Games only could be considered successful in case they prove to be eco-friendly. Moreover, sports connecting with ecology lay the grounds for a healthy life-style and prove the existence of a mutual connection between our environment and sports. As for my hobby, photography is also my passion. I`m very grateful that my job also allows me to do my hobby.
At the end of the interview, Irina emphasized, ´I am proud to be part of a sport that offers equal facilities for men and women. I have welcomed and supported the emergence of the gender equality movement in badminton and the work that it has done to improve opportunities for women within our sport in Moldova. I will always be prepared to commit time and effort to ensuring that sport maintains its status and make it accessible to as many people as possible.´
BEC thanked Irina for her time and we wish her all the best in her future badminton adventures.
To read the other ´Women in the Spotlight´ interviews, click here
For enquiries regarding Women in Badminton, please contact Tania Teoh at email@example.com
Article by Badminton Europe, photos by Irina Serbina