Sometime back in 2002, Andy, while visiting his family in Manchester, joined in with the first social gay badminton event organised by our good friend Chongwei through the Out website. He had such a good time that on his return to the Midlands he decided that he would plagiarise the works of Chongwei and set up something similar in the West Midlands. An Out badminton event was organised to take place at the Cocks Moors Woods Leisure Centre in Kings Heath, Birmingham in January 2003, and so Midlands Out Badminton was born. The MOB developed a small but enthusiastic following, playing fortnightly wherever we could get a court before settling on a home at the Woodcock (spot a theme?) Sports Centre at Aston Univ ersity
We meandered through the following years, growing gradually to the stage where we could book 2 or 3 courts every week. We also formed links with the social gay badminton groups in Manchester, Nottingham and Edinburgh which allowed us to take part in social competitions in those cities.
In the summer of 2009 we were contacted by the organisers of Shout – Birmingham’s Festival of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans culture, and invited to take part as one of Birmingham’s few gay sports groups. Participation in the Shout festival has proved to be our springboard to greater things. Funding from the festival and from Badminton England enabled us to publicise the group and to employ the services of our coach, Tony, thereby helping us to reach a much greater potential audience and allowing us to be able to offer the facilities for gay and lesbian people to take up and enjoy this great sport.
And so this is where you find us today – a thriving gay sports group playing badminton weekly in Birmingham, organising group social events and participating in badminton tournaments nationwide. Our badminton sessions attract about 20 players each Saturday from a pool of around 35 regular players.
If you’re a gay badminton player in the Midlands, or would like to be, we hope you will come and join us.