Alamo Badminton Club, the largest certified juniors club in Texas, was started in 1997 by head coach Michael Gamez. What began as a small club, with half a dozen juniors sharing court space with adults, turned into a club comprised only of juniors. Currently Alamo Badminton Club trains 50 juniors ranging from ages 6 to 21. About 15 have competed nationally, 30 have competed state and locally, and the younger and inexperienced ones train to earn spots on the traveling team. In 2003 and 2004 Alamo Badminton Club earned a total of 10 Junior National medals and dominated the Texas junior circuit winning all first place finishes in the U19 and U17 events. One member was named to the 2004-2005 Junior National Developmental Squad and Junior National Team. Another longtime member was selected as 1 fo 20 world athletes to attend the World Training Center in Guangzhou, China for 2 months of intense training. Two Alamo Badminton Club athletes have also been named USA Badminton's High School All-Americans in 2001 and 2004.
Michael Gamez' experience has also grown exponentially since he first began coaching juniors. Some of his accomplishments include: Head Coach of the 2004 Gold Winning Pan Am Junior Team, USA Badminton's Vice President and Director at Large, 2003 USOC's Volunteer of the Year, and 2004 US Olympic Developmental Coach of the Year. He has attended coaching conferences throughout the country and North America to improve his skills and increase his knowledge. He has even held state and regional conferences for other coaches from states including Texas, Florida, and New York. As a Level III Coach, he trains juniors 15 hours a week. To help facilitate the training, he sends his kids through a feeder program so that the elite players help nurture the inexperienced ones, eventually certifying the elite players as Level I coaches. His wife, Rita Cardenas-Gamez, the backbone of the club, manages the funds, organizes events, acquires facilities, and pretty much maintains the existence of the entire club.
Currently, Alamo Badminton Club receives some financial assistance from Community Youth Development Program (CYDP) and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Many of the expenses, however, are payed by the athletes and their parents. If you or your company would like to make a tax deductible contribution, it would be greatly appreciated to help these athletes achieve their Olympic dreams!