Badminton North London proving a hit

A mother-of-two from India has revolutionised the badminton scene in north London with hugely popular sessions for children and adults.

Ekta Depala moved to Barnet from Gujarat around 15 years ago and struggled to find a club where she could play on a casual basis.

That prompted her to start Badminton North London last year and the club has gone from strength to strength since with interest from shuttlers of all ages.

“I used to play in India and when I came here I wanted to join a club that was friendly and welcoming,” said Depala.

“I tried to find some clubs near my area, and they were good, but they were not welcoming.

“The level was really good, and because I came from India, I had not played for a few years because I was settling here and I didn’t know where to go to play. So they didn’t give me a chance to even practice and come back to the sport.

“So that wasn’t nice and I thought if that is happening to me, it might be happening to other people, so that’s why I decided to do my own club where everyone is welcome no matter what level they are.

“It’s a lovely sport that everyone should get a chance to play.”

Ekta Depala 1200 2

Depala passed her level one and two courses to provide her with the appropriate knowledge base to back up her passion as she set about starting a club.

The dispensing optician began offering sessions in May 2023 and found that she benefitted just as much as those attending sessions.

“It’s completely life-changing for me, because I love this sport so much, and I really wanted to do something and give back something to the community,” said Depala.

“By having my own club, I can give people the chance to play and help them to improve which is a big achievement for me.

“I’m always looking for voluntary work to see if I can improve myself, if any coaches need help, I’m happy to assist and do more and more events especially in our area, because it’s very less where we are from, so I’m trying to spread the knowledge that this sport is lovely and that everyone can join in.”

Depala welcomes adults for sessions on Monday and Tuesday evenings and delivers kids coaching on a Sunday.

She hopes to meet lots more new faces in the next 12 months and help increasing numbers of people develop their love for the sport.

“I would like the juniors to go up to the level where they can compete and to do more sessions for adults because I’m booked up on both days now,” said Depala.

“My main aim was to bring women and children out to play because I suffered and I didn’t want women to feel the same way.

“I just want to break that mindset that women can play with men.

“Badminton England have helped a lot. If I have a question and send an email, I get a reply back straight away.

“I’m really happy with the support I received from everybody. I also went to Badminton England’s club and coach conference last year and everyone was really encouraging and offered advice on how to structure the club which was great.

“I’m happy to assist and do more and more events especially in our area, because there are less players where we are from, so I’m trying to spread the knowledge that this sport is lovely and that everyone can join in.”

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