Badminton’s fast cousin shuttles into Wellington
A new racket sport, combining elements of tennis, squash and badminton became a hit in Wellington schools last year.
Speed badminton, or speedminton, is played using a specially designed racquet and modified shuttlecock, known as a speeder, which can reach speeds of 290kmh.
The sport’s promoter, Simon Rutherford, said the basic rules are the same as badminton but speedminton does not require a court or net.
Instead, players stand in squares, 12m apart. The aim of the game is to hit the speeder into the opponent’s scoring zone and rally. Many of the shots and strokes are like those of tennis and squash.
It could also be played at night with the speeder having a glow stick inside, Rutherford said.
‘‘There’s no need for dedicated facilities . . . students can play in the school hall or gym, or outside on grass or concrete,’’ he said.
Speedminton was suited to all ages – anyone from 7 to 70 could pick up a racket and within 15 minutes be playing the game, he said.
Since its launch in New Zealand last February, three schools a week had added it to their sports curriculum, Rutherford said.
Wellington College physical education head Lincoln Rawles said the school used it as part of its year 10 curriculum to work on skills that could later be transferred to badminton or tennis.
Equipment can be bought online at www.speedminton.co.nz and at some sports stores.
Ready to play: Wellington College students Sebastian On, 14, left, and Michael Bergin, 13, prepare for a game of speedminton.