Society & Culture
Badminton at university in Spain
By Javier Roldán Vicente
Oct 27, 2003, 08:17

First of all, it should be pointed out that badminton is not a well-known sport in Spain. In fact, other sports such as football, basketball, handball, athletics and tennis are much more popular. However, this tendency is evolving, but changes take place really slowly.

Sport is really important in order to keep healthy and that's the reason why it is part of our education from the time we are children. We are taught how to develop our movement skills, and sport is a great excuse to do practice. Indeed, sport accompanies us in our education until we finish high-school, but many of us go on practising even after our graduation. To those who continue their studies at university, there should be a chance to keep on practising sports. With its liberal and broad-minded approach, university does not only support those students who practice the commonest sports but also the minority groups who play badminton, table-tennis, fencing, ... aiding in their development.

Most universities own sports centres. They organise courses on aerobic, fitness, and rent the courts and grounds to those students who want to play. Yet, playing is not enough for most of them, who also enjoy competing. That is the reason why universities creat their teams. However, just the best players in each university can enter the team and have the privilege of representing their university. The most important event is the Olimpiadas Universitarias (University Olympics), which takes place every year at the beginning of May. But being in the team is not enough in order to participate in this event. The situation varies among the different sports: while the trainer is the one who decides in the classical team sports, an internal competition takes place to select the players in the individual sports. This is the traditional Torneo Rector. Anyway, in order to acquire the desired level, the university teams ought to compete along the season.

Once again, this may not be a problem for the popular sports as there are always autonomic competitions which prevent players from moving far away from home in order to compete. However, the small number of badminton players in Spain does not allow this and forces the creation of regions, each of which groups several Autonomic Regions. Furthermore, while the university teams have a similar level than the rest in these competitions in the popular sports, the level acquired by the university teams in badminton is usually lower than the non-university teams. In my opinion, the reason might be that the universities have to face 2 main problems: they have rather little spare time in order to train and their trainers are usually less prepared than those who manage their own badminton club. Anyway, let's face another real fact: the rate of associated players in badminton in Spain is one of the lowest in Europe. This, together with the small number of young people who go to university, provides a poor probability of finding among the university students enough players with the required level to form a competitive team. At this point, it should be said that thanks to the success of interchange programmes such as Erasmus and Socrates, more and more students from the rest of Europe are enjoying the chance to study in Spain.

Moreover, as badminton is quite a popular sport in many of these countries, some of these students enter the badminton team. Even then, this will be my third season and, as in the previous seasons, the trainer will probably have problems to fill in the team list in the
feminine category.

So to say, university allows those students interested in badminton to go on practising it but we are given little aid and so, it is rather difficult to get nice results. It could be worst but such is life, isn't it?

Javier Roldán Vicente
University of Cantabria Badminton Team

For more information, see the University of Cantabria's badminton website.

© Copyright 2003 by & Javier Roldán Vicente