Pictured left to right: Rupinder, Aveer, Amreen and Mandeep Virk
The International Day of Families is a movement observed by the United Nations to raise awareness around the importance of communities and families and their significant impacts on one antoher.
One fine example of strong community spirit displayed by a family comes from the region of Waikato in New Zealand – the Virks.
Rupinder Virk, originally from India, moved to New Zealand over 25 years ago, bringing his die-hard passion for badminton with him. Fast forward to 2020 and he’s successfully set up one of the Waikato’s biggest clubs (Waikato Punjabi Badminton Club) and now the sport runs in his family.
“The club started out as a casual night with a few keen members. However, we noticed the next generation needed a club to play in and we were keen to inspire the community to get fit and be more social. Eventually we had a good mix of competitive and social players so we formalised the process and created an established club with a wide-reaching community base”
“It was especially important for us to get the social interaction going between the families”, says Rupinder.
Among Rupinder’s family, Aveer Virk is competing in New Zealand’s U15 circuit, while Amreen started on the BWF circuit in her first International Series tournament last year (YONEX Waikto International 2019) followed by the Australian Junior International. The New Zealand U17 national squad player has high ambitions as she aims to compete in this year’s BWF World Junior Championships, with many more exciting years ahead.
However, badminton has offered the Virk family more than just physical fitness and skills:
“The sport has helped our family develop on and off the court. I can see my children’s confidence and social interaction improving massively. Amreen has hosted some of our club’s competitions, speaking publicly at our events. She’s won community awards and has done talks on her aspirations to inspire others to play sport and focus on their goals”, says Rupinder.
More recently, the Virk family took to social media as New Zealand went into isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep spirit levels high.
“We did a video on Facebook to share our inspiration and eagerness to raise awareness of badminton to our community“, says Rupinder
Here's the Virk family's spin on footwork! 💃🕺🤩 #familybubble #BadmintonAtHome
Posted by Waikato Badminton Association Inc. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Back by popular demand (although they haven't gone anywhere), here is the Virk family bubble showing off more Footwork2Music!🦶🏸👏👨👩👧👦💪🎶🤗 #BadmintonAtHome #BetterTogether
Posted by Waikato Badminton Association Inc. on Monday, May 4, 2020
On Thursday 14 May, New Zealand went down to level 2 in their COVID-19 response plan, meaning that some badminton halls will re-open and badminton can start up again.
The Virk’s share their excitement with other eager players waiting to get back on court and look forward to continue growing badminton within their community.