In 2014, Dubai launched a four-year partnership with the Badminton World Federation (BWF), a move that has not only brought the world’s best players to the Hamdan Sports Complex each December for the Dubai World Superseries Finals, but also boosted grassroots participation in Dubai through the Shuttle Time initiative. Now, there are more places to play than ever before, whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced shuttler
Dubai Sports World
The sixth edition of the Middle East’s largest indoor sports event runs from June to August, and badminton continues to occupy a prominent space at the summer extravaganza, held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. In 2016, the number of available courts increased from six to eight, and all are free to use for the public as part of Shuttle Time Dubai – but must be booked in advance due to high demand. Coach Education courses are also available for those hoping to pass on their skills to the next generation, while the Shuttle Time Dubai Club Championships – held every Friday in August – add a competitive edge to proceedings.
Dubai Stars Sportsplex
The Sportsplex, in Mirdif, has four state-of-the-art courts, and can call upon the expertise of Sriyani Deepika, a former Sri Lankan badminton champion who runs an academy at the facility. Classes are available for different ages and skill levels, while women’s badminton mornings also take place here, mirroring the increase in female participation in badminton throughout Dubai. The courts are generally open from 8am to 11pm, with racquets and shuttlecocks available upon request.
Badminton is a global sport but is particularly popular in Asia, and resonates with Dubai’s Indian population, who comprise a significant portion of the estimated 1,500 club-affiliated players across the emirate. Some of these shuttlers are concentrated at the India Club in Al Nasr, which offers four high-quality courts, tailored coaching sessions, and a home for the prestigious UAE Badminton Open – an annual tournament giving local talent the chance to flourish.
There are now more than 120 qualified badminton coaches in Dubai thanks to the educational courses facilitated by the Shuttle Time initiative, which has also inspired the growth of badminton academies, with each one offering structured training programmes to young players hoping to take their game to the next level. Play To Win, Prime Star Sports Academy and Pro Badminton Academy (which also holds summer camps) are three such organisations, while a full list of badminton clubs in Dubai can be accessed via the link below.