6th Dec, 2016

Pensioners use Team GB success to roll back the years at Badminton class

Shaun Reynolds 2nd Oct, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A PAIR of pensioners have used Team GB’s success at the Rio Olympics to roll back the years and take part in a popular badminton class – 30 years after first meeting.

May Jackson, 80, and Valann Lester, 72 – both from Stoke Heath – have started attending No Strings Attached badminton club at the Coventry Sports and Leisure Centre.

The club, which normally attracts an average of 35 players per session, has benefited from the medal success of Team GB at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Now peaking at 50 members for each session, the club has attracted more than 750 different players in the past six years – making it one of the centre’s most popular classes.

May, who is the club’s oldest ever member, said: “If you don’t use it you lose it, which is why I love coming along to play because it keeps me fit and flexible.

“Our coach Richard is so helpful as well – he makes the sessions really interesting and competitive by putting us up against people that will challenge us.”

May’s friend Valann, who spent 20 years living abroad before reuniting with May in Coventry, also believes the club is a great way to meet new people.

She added: “There’s more to the badminton club than just exercising as there’s a real variety in people that attend from all ages and background.

“I would definitely recommend the club to anybody as our coach gives everybody a warm welcome and helps to improve everybody’s game.”

No Strings Attached co-ordinator and coach Richard Jardim has been running the club for six years.

He said: “Seeing the courts brimming with people of all backgrounds and age groups is what the club is all about and why I love hosting these sessions.

“Six years ago when the badminton club first started, we have two players attend – and I’m proud to say one of those still participates weekly today.

“Seeing older people like May and Valann come along to exercise and get involved is fantastic – they are a shining example to others.”