Greetings from the 2020 ACTBA President, Olaf Schuermann

I was elected as the 2020 ACTBA President at the 2019 AGM on 8 December 2019.  Vikram Varma was, unfortunately, unable to continue in the role due to other commitments.  Thankfully, most of the rest of the 2019 Committee was willing to continue in their roles in 2020: Alan Kisbee as Vice President; Raymond Kan as Treasurer; Robynne Mah as Secretary; and Brideen Allen as Match Secretary.  This will provide for the continuity needed to continue with the implementation of the agreed 2019-20 ACTBA Business Plan.

After many years in the role as Webmaster, Bas Gintings will hand over the reins to Aaron Chuah, as Jactinta Joe (who shared the role with Bas in 2019) is not able to continue in the role.  Many thanks to Bas for all his incredible work in the role for over thirty years and to Jacinta for her work, particularly in sorting out issues related to club access to the Revolutionise software to enable all ACTBA affiliated clubs to more effectively maintain our membership databases. Jacinta also helped with the technical aspects of the handover to Brideen as Match Secretary (no easy role).

I would also like to thank Bas for his dedication to badminton in the ACT more generally, particularly his support in the various tournaments.  Neither Bas nor Jacinta will ‘disappear’ as they still assure me that they will remain active in supporting ACTBA activities and clubs, just simply not in an official capacity.  I would like to welcome Aaron, who many of you will know from his capable assistance in the ACT Open and through his private role in providing shuttles for ACTBA tournaments and to various clubs.   I am sure that he will bring some interesting ideas in terms of developing the website.

For those who were not able to attend the AGM, please see elsewhere on the website the meeting papers, most notably Vikram’s President’s report, the Treasurer’s Report and the Match Secretary’s Report.  I do, however, wish to welcome the 2019 Executive Committee’s decision to provide Valouny Souskavat with an award to recognise her dedication to badminton in the ACT.  Of particular note has been her coaching work and role as a line judge at various national and international tournaments, including the Australian Open and the Commonwealth Games.  Congratulations Val!

A bit of an introduction about myself.  After nearly thirty years as an economic policy adviser/researcher, including nearly twenty years as an executive in the Federal Treasury and five at Austrade, I now do some consultancy on economic/foreign investment matters.  I am also a tour guide showing the best of Canberra and lead some overseas tours to Europe; I simply love travelling and have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad in both a personal and work capacity.

Many of you may know me, as I have been involved with badminton as a social player and club manager for many years now.  After starting to learn the game rather late in the piece when I was a student at the ANU in the early 1980s (including playing at that club), I also played at other clubs (in Canberra, Sydney, London and Germany) and helped in an administrative capacity at the UC club.  I have now run the Gungahlin Club for over a decade and it has grown exponentially, reflecting the growing population and interest in the sport in the region.  The club is now the largest in the ACTBA ‘family’ and we play three times a week at two venues (indeed, I am on a waiting list for a further evening session at Amaroo High School).  I have also been on the ACTBA Committee for a few years.

My first priority is to meet with every club and chat about how the ACTBA and its affiliated clubs can both support each other to grow participation in badminton in the ACT.  This year has been a busy year, particularly in terms of Alan’s great work in developing the ‘Shuttle Time’ coaching program amongst our members and various school PE teachers, to increase the pool of coaches able to teach in clubs and schools.  The various tournaments have also been well attended and I was particularly encouraged by participation at the Inter-Club competition (and hope to have two of them next year).

That said, a junior development officer will still need to be appointed to take the lead in junior training, including taking over the great work Steven Huynh has done over many years in terms of the ACT’s participation in various national tournaments.  Further, all the new coaches and trained-up PE teachers will undoubtedly increase the demand of many juniors to play in venues outside of their schools and we need to see how we can effectively cater for this increased demand.

While implementing all elements of the 2019-20 Business Plan is a priority, I will take a particular interest in two matters.  Firstly, seeking sponsorship for the ACT Open, to provide for a small monetary prize to the Open Division winners and thus encourage participation in the event.  I will also be working with our local political leaders ahead of the 2020 ACT election to seek their agreement for a multi-use indoor sports facility to be built in both the Gungahlin and Molonglo/Weston Creek/Woden regions.  Further, I will be lobbying to seek some public co-funding to support a potential private sector investor in developing a dedicated badminton facility in the ACT (most realistically a converted warehouse of some kind).  This will clearly be difficult to achieve, but I feel that the upcoming year will provide for the best opportunity, particularly given the growth of the sport in the ACT over recent years.  I have already had discussions with various ACT politicians and officials and I am currently preparing a Policy Submission, which I will forward to all club representatives for comment before circulating it in the public arena in early 2020.

I know that this has been a long-winded introduction, but I wanted to provide you all with some background on myself and some of my proposed focus areas for next year.  I know that we are a small association and must set realistic objectives, but we have already made good progress this year so I remain optimistic for 2020 and beyond.

I am more than happy to chat to anyone and hope to meet many club members when I visit clubs in the early part of 2020.

I wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

(Olaf Schuermann)
President, ACTBA
Ph: 0400472711