Another year in badminton?


Looking for a date?
by Andy McKenzie

The International Badminton Federation (IBF) have a warning for anyone planning a trip to the 2000 World Grand Prix Finals: "Don’t book your holidays yet."

  • With the federation’s options limited due to the number of religious festivals occurring between September and January, it looks almost certain that the end of season finale will not be going ahead until February 2001.

  • "We like to respect the religious festivals of all our members," said Lindsey Bell, spokesperson for the federation. "We wouldn’t hold the tournament on Christmas Day, so we need to be fair and consistent to everyone.

  • "With such a full calendar it’s difficult to find dates which are agreeable to everyone. As the World Grand Prix Finals is the culmination of a year’s hard graft on the GP circuit, ideally it should be as near to the end of the year as possible. But sometimes this isn’t feasible - I guess that’s life."

  • It is not the first time that the event has had to be scheduled past the end of the year. The 1998 event, held in Brunei, took place in February 1999 for the same reasons.

  • The World Grand Prix Finals - likely to be held in Brunei again - features the top 16 men, 12 women and 10 doubles sides, based on the points they tally over a full season in the 16-18 qualifying events.

  • Meanwhile, the sport is enjoying something of a boom period at present, with the number of members seeing a rapid rise in 1998 and 1999.

  • The total number of affiliated players has jumped from around a million to over 1.7 million, with some countries seeing increases of over 100 percent during the period.

  • In Chile, a previously untapped area for the game, the number of members has grown from 363 in 1998 to 1,000, while Hong Kong, China has seen their membership increase from 30,000 to 51,000.

  • "We’re not quite sure why such a huge growth has happened in so many places around the world," added Bell. "But it’s great news for us and the sport."

  • "These reported figures represent only a fraction of the people who actually play badminton. It seems that the world’s fastest racket sport could also be one of the world’s fastest growing sports."
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© 2000 Worldsport Networks Ltd Written by Andy McKenzie

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