January 2 - The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced that it has officially bid for Para-badminton to be included on the Paralympic programme at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
The BWF says its President Poul-Erik Høyer handed its letter of intent to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven at its General Assembly in Athens in November, almost two months ahead of the application deadline of January 17, 2014.
"Our preparations are well underway for this application process and, since our letter of intent was ready, we felt this was the appropriate time to present it to the IPC and, in particular, to Sir Philip Craven," Høyer explained.
"It was well received and there was even some surprise at how early we were."
The early move by the BWF signals its intent to lobby hard during the year-long decision making process, launched by the IPC on November 6, to determine which sports will make up the Tokyo 2020 programme.
The BWF is one of five International Federations that are not on the current Paralympic programme but are recognised by the IPC, along with handball, hockey, taekwondo and powerchair football.
These are expected to be the most likely of any to be added to the 22 sports that are on the Rio 2016 programme, with the IPC set to make a decision on what will be put through to the second phase of application on March 5.
During the second stage, the new sports along with the disciplines scheduled for Rio 2016 will be required to complete a comprehensive questionnaire justifying their place on the Paralympic programme by July 25.
The IPC Governing Board is then scheduled to meet in November to determine the Tokyo 2020 programme and decide if any new disciplines will be added.
Para-badminton made an unsuccessful bid for inclusion on the Rio 2016 programme, losing out to triathlon and canoeing events, and since then the BWF has taken over the governance of the sport from the now disbanded Para-Badminton World Federation and established a BWF Para-Badminton Committee.
As part of its strategy to launch a successful Paralympics bid, the BWF has been seeking to introduce more Para-badminton tournaments worldwide, while increasing funding and implementing new regulations regarding classification.
The 2013 Para-badminton World Championships in Dortmund were said to be the biggest yet, with athletes from more than 30 countries taking part.
"The BWF has been working hard on developing Para-badminton and building its player base since 2010 and this has included enhancing the classification system and the rules governing Para-badminton," Høyer said.
"We strongly believe Para-badminton has a lot to offer the global Paralympic family.
"Para-badminton - like badminton - has a wow factor and real spectator appeal at the elite level.
"We are sure that if we have the honour of being included in Tokyo 2020, fans in the stadium and around the world will love the outstanding action which Para-badminton offers."
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November 2013: New sports begin bid for inclusion at Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
June 2013: Record numbers expected for World Para-Badminton Championships as campaign for Paralympic inclusion stepped up
September 2012: Badminton gears up to win spot at 2020 Paralympics
December 2010: Triathlon and canoeing celebrate inclusion in Rio 2016 Paralympics