Event involving ladies from across region is first of its kind in Fenland area and 34 took part
The first-ever Ouse Valley ladies badminton tournament was held at the Freedom Leisure Centre in Wisbech on Sunday.
This was a major tournament involving ladies from across the region and the first of its kind in the Fenland area.
Some 34 ladies took part in this inaugural event and play was competitive and good humoured. Many women were tense as this was the first time they’d ever entered a tournament of any kind.
Marion Levitt, a player representing the Wisbech Women’s Badminton group, said: “I was incredibly nervous and didn’t want to play but my teammates encouraged and supported me.
“I’ve never participated in anything like this before and at the grand age of 71 years young, I didn’t think I could do it – miraculously we came fourth!
“I was so glad that we did it and it just shows that, with teamwork and encouragement, you can do anything!”
All teams played against each other with play-off finals to determine first to eighth places.
The ladies played constantly for three hours. A total of 96 games were played and, sweaty and exhausted, they remained in good spirits.
Winning team member Lydia Appleton said: “I’ve been in lots of tournaments but this one was a mixed ability one.
“It’s important to change your game to accommodate different players.
“It’s all about encouraging and keeping ladies in the sport and giving them the confidence to continue, despite the odds.”
The whole event was hosted by the Wisbech Women’s Badminton group, which is open to women of all levels and all ages from 14-plus.
The youngest player was just 14 years, all the way to the oldest at 72 years young. The Hudson Ladies team’s combined ages came to 302 and they came a healthy fifth place.
Coach, Nishi Varma, commented: “This is the only group in the Fenland area that is open to women of all abilities.
“Women come for a variety of reasons, where strong friendships are made, supportive networks are formed, as well as learning a new game and keeping fit.
“The women care and support each other, not only in game play but also in their personal lives.”
The ladies were exposed to play at all levels, many kept their calm and were rewarded by formal presentations from first place to fourth place, winning medals and a first place trophy.
The event was able to take place due to the funding received by the Wisbech Women’s Badminton group through Healthy Fenland.
Sponsor Julie Jeffreys made a speech, commenting: “The Healthy Fenland project provides funds and support for projects and activities that enhance healthy lifestyles for the local communities in the Fenland area.
“We’re always on the look-out for any start-up activities and we can support them in a variety of ways, ranging from financial and practical support.”
The ladies were actively supported by spectators who willed their teams on from the viewing gallery.
Everyone shared in an abundant lunch and delicious treats donated by the ladies after the presentations, enjoyed by participants and players
Coach, Janis Baker, added: “We were up against the clock in terms of timings. We finished with one minute left!
“The tournament was a great success and demonstrates the formidable nature of women joining forces in a sport.
“I was proud to co-ordinate the games and see a lot of exhausted and smiling faces.”
If you’d like to join Wisbech Women’s Badminton, play is every Wednesday evening, 7-8pm, at the Hudson Leisure Centre. Coaching and equipment is provided.
Cost is only £2 and you’ll be warmly welcomed.
If you’d like to apply to Healthy Fenland funding, call 01945 464289 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org