Biography: Badminton Coach, Elliott Beals
February 23, 2021
In honor of Black History month, Badminton Canada interviews Winnipeg Winter Club Badminton Professional, Elliott Beals
Elliott Beals grew up in Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia.
Cherry Brook is a rural community in Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada. The community is populated primarily by Black Nova Scotians. Neighboring North Preston is the largest Black community in Nova Scotia by population and has the highest concentration of African Canadians of any community in Canada.
Elliott has given so much to the sport of badminton and continues to do so. From running a successful club in Nova Scotia and improving both the grassroots and the competitive level there, to being a member of Badminton Canada’s High-Performance Committee and now coaching Para National Team member, Olivia Meier.
Elliott has had success at the Canadian Masters level winning several titles:
- 2016 45+ Men’s Doubles (with David Humble)
- 2017 45+ Men’s Doubles (with David Humble), 45+ Mixed Doubles (with Joyce Pitman), 40+ Men’s Doubles (with Chris White)
We recently caught up with Elliott for an interview.
Badminton Canada (BC): How did you get started in badminton?
EB: In school. I had a cousin in Grade 7 who played, and I was in grade 6. Badminton was played all year at his school and his cousin said they got to travel to play tournaments and the travel aspect appealed to Elliott. I really started to improve when Doug Johnson visited the school and invited Elliott to come and train in Bedford at the CP Allen High School. Doug was a national caliber player from the Glencoe Club who was studying in Halifax. This opportunity allowed me to really start to get better. I remember Ken Poole, from Truro Nova Scotia, came back home and ran a clinic and I thought if he can win Nationals perhaps, I can do it as well.
BC: Did you compete in the Canadian Junior Championships?
EB: My first year under 16 in 1985 was my first junior nationals at the Boulevard Club in Toronto. The best I ever did was a quarter-final in mixed with Sarah Hutchison from the Glencoe Club in Under 19.
BC: You’ve shown incredible dedication to badminton over the years. When did you move to Edmonton to train?
EB: 1987, my last year junior and I trained at the Royal Glenora Club. I was there for 3 years in total.
BC: Elliott is now the Head Pro at the Winnipeg Winter Club, as of September 2018. How did you get involved in coaching?
EB: I was involved with coaching through the City of Halifax Rec Programs even when I was younger. Later when I was out coaching my kids at Dalplex in Halifax, Karen Stadnyk was there and asked me to come out and hit with the kids at her club, the Sackville Badminton Club. I became the coach at the club and eventually took it over and it became the East Coast Badminton Club. I invited David Humble to come down and run a clinic. I went to the Calgary Winter Club twice to learn from Dave and Jeff White. I ran the club for 7 years. I was also the coach for the 2007 Nova Scotia Canada Winter Games Team.
BC: Have you ever experienced racism in badminton?
EB: No. I have always been treated well and people in badminton have been very nice. I was the only black player pretty much everywhere I went. I feel it is important to have black coaches and role models in badminton if we hope to encourage more diversity in badminton.
BC: Elliott joins other distinguished Black members of Canada's badminton community, but this has remained a small group over the years. This makes Elliott’s accomplishments all the more impressive and a testament to his dedication, perseverance, character and love of the game. We need to do a better job of increasing diversity in our sport and understanding any hurdles that may be present. Elliott is doing his part as a role model athlete and coach and as a contributor on the CAC’s Focus Group Research panel on Diversity and Coaching. But we all have a role to play...
Badminton Canada recognizes the need to understand and eliminate all barriers to inclusion and full participation in our sport and initiated the Gender Equity, Inclusion & Safe Sport Committee in 2019 to ensure this remains a priority. We are currently working on several new initiatives to ensure the principles of equal opportunity, inclusion, and safe sport for all are incorporated into all strategies, plans and actions of Badminton Canada.