Hancock thriving in role as Competition Manager

JonHancockParis

21 June 2024

This summer could be a memorable one for British badminton in Paris and Jon Hancock has already enjoyed success in the French capital this year.

Badminton England’s Competitions Manager was part of a team of five who completed a four-day charity run from London to the Eiffel Tower in May.

The quintet are long standing friends from Hancock’s many years of being involved in badminton, with his love affair with the sport beginning at a young age.

As a player, he progressed to county level and later moved into his current position at Badminton England, where he joined in 2016.

He said: “I’ve always loved the sport. It started when I was five and was given a racket that needed to be cut down by my Dad because I was a bit too short.

“Luckily they make small rackets for children nowadays, which is a positive progression in badminton technology.”

From playing at the junior club level, he progressed to senior county level at Worcestershire and then on to Warwickshire at a similar time to when he joined up with Badminton England.

The job meant he was onsite delivering the competitions, so he stopped playing to enable the delivery rather than competing himself.

His role as Competitions Manager focuses on the delivery of the Senior County Championships (SCC) and the pathway to develop officials, two things he is incredibly passionate about.

“Participation at the county level has spurred me on to work at the county level because you see how important it is,” he said.

“I’ve seen the competition from both sides now – as a player and an administrator, so I think I have a good insight on how to lead on it, understanding the challenges counties face and the implications of different decisions.

“We’ve seen a reduction in the number of officials over the years. In my role, I work to fill these gaps through establishing a pathway of developing referees.

“Referees are essential to delivering our competitions. The officials add a lot of value to our events and in growing our network of referees, we are able to take the sport a little further and make the players’ lives easier.

“We are building a pathway that provides some wonderful opportunities for people to get involved in the sport – it’s not just about playing, but you can get some wonderful experiences officiating too.”

Eight years in to his time with Badminton England, he feels the sport is in a good place and can look to grow.

Hancock enjoyed a five-month secondment delivering the badminton competition for the Commonwealth Games in 2022, a project he has fond memories of, but he is delighted to be back at Badminton England at such a pivotal time.

“It’s absolutely brilliant working at Badminton England, I love it,” he said.

“It feels like it’s a time for real growth and there’s a lot of positivity about Badminton England – it’s a great place to be.

“We’ve seen a lot of new changes, and there is a real freshness to what we do. With the projects we are involved in, there’s a lot of excitement and understanding that we have a big impact on the delivery and the future of our sport.”

Hancock praised the generosity of his Badminton England colleagues for supporting his recent charity run through donations, and also for accompanying him for training runs when he was in the office.

His team – made up of ex-players and coaches Dean George, Chris Tonks, David King and Mark Russ – raised £3000 for Parkinson’s UK and SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, with the whole event raising £130,000.

They eventually finished an impressive fourth out of 40 teams, something he says was helped by the team being made up of ex-England players who continue to enjoy healthy competition.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Hancock is looking forward to putting his feet up and not doing any more running, although he admits to dabbling in triathlon.

He is working towards the new SCC league starting in November, as well as running a referee course in August ahead of the new season, alongside spending time with his two young children.

And he will, of course, also be supporting the British badminton players at the Olympics and Paralympics.

“I’ve told them I’ve done a recce in Paris,” he added. “But I’ve suggested they get the train there rather than run!”

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