Jim Mackay (Robert James Mackay) spent his whole life with a passion for badminton and was instrumental in driving the processes to set up a system for badminton players with a disability.
Jim was a promising player for Scotland and played as such in the IBF Olympic demonstration in Seoul in 1988, before a motorcycle accident caused the loss of the use of both his legs. This tragedy changed Jim’s life, but he used this as a challenge to get back into the sport he loved. After quite some time in hospital and rehabilitation, Jim resumed and finalised his medical studies and with that – again wished to take up his sport of badminton and he started competing again – this time from his wheelchair.
In 1995 he took the initiative to establish the International Badminton Association for the Disabled, (IBAD) and became a founder member of IBAD Board in Stoke Mandeville, UK, as its first technical and medical officer. More than that, he served from the very beginning, as a strong advocate for badminton as well as para-badminton. His love of the game was unsurpassed.
Since 1995, Jim remained a member of IBAD (from 2009 Para-Badminton World Federation, PBWF) governing board up until the time the PBWF was dissolved in June 2011 and when the BWF became responsible for the governance and management of para-badminton.
From 1998 Jim focused on the medical side and served as the Medical Officer of the Federation, having written and became overall in charge of the classification system – something that was crucial to the game for differently abled players.
Probably more than anyone else during that period, we can thank Jim Mackay for having a good and fair game of badminton to offer to players with a physical impairment.
Jim was honoured in 2010 by the BWF with a BWF Distinguished Service Award for his long service to para-badminton, the role he played in setting up the system for classification as well as advocacy for inclusion of para-badminton into the badminton structures. Jim will always be remembered as the man who put para-badminton on the agenda of our sport.