June 28 - A record number of countries are set to compete in the World Para-Badminton Championships in Dortmund later this year, giving the sport a massive boost in its push to get on the programme for the Paralympics in 2020.
Competitors from up to 35 countries are expected to take part in the event, which is due to take place between November 5 and 10.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) is to provide up to $100,000 (£64,460/€75,689) in participation grants to assist smaller countries who have active Para-badminton programmes but cannot afford to send a contingent to the event without financial assistance.
This is similar to what exists for BWF World Junior Championships where funding may be given to certain countries and competitors in need.
The amount of funding available per team depends on the number of players and the location from which they are travelling.
"Some countries which may not have been able to send competitors initially can now do so and some which could only have sent a few competitors may be able to send more," said Paul Kurzo, the BWF vice-president Para-Badminton.
"Uganda, for example, will now be able to send two players and, along with the player from Nigeria, their participation in the World Championships will be a major milestone for Para-badminton on the African continent.
"We hope steps like this encourage further and greater participation from countries where para-badminton is now taking root and that these developments boost funding access within those countries."
Players will compete in three categories.
There will be two classes in the wheelchair division, three in the standing and one in short stature.
The World Championships is the flagship tournament which the BWF hope will help them get the sport into the Paralympics but is only one of several initiatives.
These include hosting more Para-badminton tournaments globally at all levels, increasing participation, enhancing the structures, rules and technical aspects of the sport, developing more and bettercoaches and further integrating it into national badminton federations.
Kurzo, who represented Switzerland in Para-badminton, was previously chairman of the now defunct Para-Badminton World Federation.
He now heads the BWF Para-Badminton Committee and is driving the campaign, along with Canada's Wayne Somers, the deputy chairman.
"It is a long-cherished goal to have Para-badminton included in the Paralympic Games and we are confident we will be able to achieve this," said
"We have about 18 months until the decision by the International Paralympic Committee in December 2014 and we will be intensifying our efforts to attain Paralympic status.
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