IRVINE Junior Badminton Club started their new season last Friday at Irvine Royal Academy.

As primary and secondary schools settle in for a new term, the club are working with Irvine Royal Active schools co ordinator Stephen Fraser to deliver badminton taster sessions and after school clubs in Woodlands, Castlepark, St Marks, St John Ogilvie, Loudon Montgomery, Annick and Glebe Primaries.

There has been a strong interest at Castlepark Primary and the coaches are looking for a venue to start a new club within the area on a weekday.

Three players at Irvine Junior Badminton Club have secured places at elite Glasgow School of Sport, Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow - Imogen Meldrum (Dundonald Primary); Evan Kenny (Gargieston Primary) and Eva Tremble (Glebe Primary.

Closing date for applications was December 24, 2016, sports selection was the last week in January and final selection was during the last week in February.

The players had rigorous fitness tests, badminton skills tests, followed by interviews from Head Teacher Ian Anderson and Director of Sport Angela Porter. The players received their contracts in April with transition day scheduled for early June.

The pupils can look forward to a sporting future over the next six years.

S1 and S2 sports pupils are timetabled together for eight hours a week of sports coaching. There are 30 periods in the school week and to release pupils for eight hours of sports coaching does require that pupils have less time in certain subjects. Subjects that pupils have less time in are the modes of: Technology, Creative and Aesthetics and Religious Education / Personal and Social Education. Sports pupils in S1 and S2 have no Physical Education classes. The players will also attend after school training and continue to play at their local clubs.

All three players have been members of IJBC for four years and have competed at the highest level. All three players were included in the Ayrshire Primary select team competing in the Scottish Inter Area in March and representing West of Scotland in the Anglo Scottish team event at Inverclyde Sports Centre during the last weekend in May.

In 2016, club players Angus Meldrum, Dundonald Primary and Leo McMillan, Glebe Primary joined Glasgow School of Sport. In the past two years half of first year badminton students at GSOS are from Irvine Junior Badminton Club.

The local club were formed in November 2011 at Irvine Royal Academy.

Club nights at Irvine Royal Academy are Thursday and Fridays with a development squad on Tuesday nights. Selected players attend Glasgow satellite squad on Wednesday evenings.

IJBC work in partnership with Irvine Royal active schools coordinator Stephen Fraser arranging badminton taster sessions and after school badminton clubs in the Irvine Royal cluster.

Anyone interested in taking up the sport, please visit the Badminton Irvine Facebook page, or contact Andy Tremble on 01294 275515.