By Paul Osborne

Para-badminton's selling point is the sport itself claims BWF President ©Badminton EnglandThe best-selling point for Para-badminton is the sport itself claims Badminton World Federation (BWF) President Poul-Erik Høyer, as the organisation continues to push for the sport's inclusion in the Paralympic programme.

Badminton is one of two new sports, alongside taekwondo, looking to gain a place on the Paralympic Games sports programme for Tokyo 2020.

Top officials from the sport's governing body believe its continued growth, dynamic and exciting play, and appeal to athletes from across the world, will give it a great chance when the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) comes to make its decision in October.

A delegation from the world governing body recently met with IPC officials in Bonn, Germany, to discuss the BWF's proposal and the way forward for the remainder of the bid process.

"It was a great pleasure to be in Bonn and share our ideas with the IPC and to listen to where Para-sport is heading in the medium to long term," said Høyer, who led the delegation.

"There was a spirit of openness to ideas and we appreciated the expertise and experience the IPC had around the table.

"We took away some good learnings and we are looking forward to finalising our proposal for submission next month and then putting our best case forward to the IPC Governing Board in October."

He added: "Our best selling point is Para-badminton itself.

"Watching it shows what an attractive and dynamic sport it is with great action and very competitive athletes who give their all on court.

"There has been a lot of development in recent years and the regulations and classification system have been enhanced to add value to Para-badminton."

Para-badminton joins Para-taekwondo in a bid to gain entry to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme with the two sports hoping for positive news at the IPC meeting in Berlin in October ©WTFBadminton joins taekwondo in a bid to gain entry to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic programme, with the two sports hoping for positive news at the IPC meeting in Berlin in October ©WTF

Para-badminton's growth was showcased in full today at Loughborough University where around 100 of the world's top players, from 17 nations across the globe, met for the start of the England Para-Badminton International.

The tournament is headlined by the host nation's double world champions Rachel Choong and Andrew Martin, and includes athletes from as far as Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Peru and Thailand.

The players will compete for medals in 23 events as they vie for the chance to gain top honours in one of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar.

This tournament follows the Indonesia Para-Badminton International which took place earlier this month with more than 60 athletes participating, and marks just two of the many events proposed by the BWF for the 2014 season.

"There's a lot of interest in Para-badminton and the number of events and development is increasing annually worldwide," said BWF secretary general Thomas Lund.

"BWF is committed to developing Para-badminton and we are working with our member associations and related organisations to achieve this.

"We had a successful World Championships last year with 235 athletes from 36 countries taking part.

"Following on from that, there was a lot of enthusiasm within the Para-badminton community to have more tournaments.

"We've had really positive reports about the inaugural international in Indonesia in which both men and women took part and we look forward to similar positive reviews from the England Para-Badminton International where athletes from Europe will be joined by their peers from Asia and South America.

"These are exciting times for Para-badminton and we're pleased with how it is developing and showing the world what a great sport and spectacle it is."

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