Badminton is far from a sport for the faint hearted. At the top level it is a ferocious sport, taxing on the body and a sport which requires elite level effort and talent.
It is a fast and furious sport which asks players to bring exceptional reflexes and body defying dexterity to return smashes that can reach speeds of up to 400km/h at the top end of competition.
This summer in Gibraltar our Western Isles Island Games Association (WIIGA) badminton squad saw first hand the levels of the elite. But when challenged by the best from islands around the world, our WIIGA squad didn’t wilt, they stood tall and performed better than any badminton player with the WIIGA crest on their chest before.
Now just a few months later plans have advanced to harness the good form, positive energy and clear talent on badminton courts around the Isles.
The next stage in the continuing development of the game is the launch of the brand new doubles league.
Kevin Macleod, Keith Bray and Michael Jefferson have worked hard to set up and launch the Western Isles Badminton Association (WIBA) Doubles League – sponsored by island firm Nessglaze.
The league is scheduled to run in the Lewis Sports Centre in Stornoway for six-weeks although it is hoped an extension could be granted with numbers highly encouraging after the first week.
Each week 24 players take to the six courts in the sports centre with players competing in a league format.
Each court represents an individual league where four players contest each league and each play two games with each player in the league on game night.
The two top scoring players move up a league at each following week with the two lowest scoring players dropping down a league.
At the end of the season there will be trophies presented to best male, best female and best youth with the league open to any players aged over 16 years, including Highland Badminton standard youths.
At the end of play after week one in the new league the top three names on the pile were Iain Mackenzie (126 points), Kevin Macleod (120) and Davie Fraser (117).
The Western Isles Badminton Association are also due to host the annual Lewis and Harris Badminton Singles Championships this Saturday.
Run in cooperation with Sport and Health, the championships will take place at 2:30pm in the Lewis Sports Centre with prices set at £12 per adult or £5 for WIBA members, and £6 for Under 18s or £2 for WIBA members.