As the BWF Superseries Finals in Dubai kick off at the Hamdan Sports Complex, the five-day event is seeing fierce competition among the world’s best badminton players for the grand champion title of the 2015 tournament
Badminton enthusiasts are getting excited as the BWF Dubai World Superseries Finals, running from December 9 to 13, kick off at the Hamdan Sports Complex. With $1mn in prize money to be collected, the eight top-ranked elites will be battling for the most prestigious and competitive title in the sport.
Results of the earlier draw have already set a high level of tension amongst the group. Chen Long encountered his fellow countryman from China Tian Houwei and the runner-up in ranking Jan O'Jorgensen from Denmark. Meantime, the women’s singles put Wang Yihan and Wang Shixian in the same group.
“It doesn’t matter. We just need to be the top two of the group, and we can both get into the semi-finals,” said Wang Yihan referring to the results.
Men’s singles player Chen Long, women’s singles players Carolina Marin and Saina Nehwal, and men’s doubles Yoo Yeon Seong took questions from young fans in Dubai ahead of the game. The youth helped with the draw and were keen to take photos with their super idols.
A little boy addressed a question to Chen Long, saying, “what do you eat to grow so strong?”, bringing a smile to the legendary player who made history by scoring up to 100,000 points this year. “I think my mother ate very well when she was pregnant,” he answered humorously.
'The development of the sport is very healthy. There is a very good spread in the world and the countries and regions that are taking medals increase'
Since Dubai started hosting the BWF World Superseries Finals and the Shuttle Time programme for promoting badminton in schools last year, the emirate’s community has embraced this sport with great enthusiasm. As Poul-Erik Høyer, president of the Badminton World Federation told the press, the flourishing scene for badminton in Dubai “gives us much optimism for the future as we continue growing the sport here”.
The competition, especially in women’s single, is white hot. “The rivals from other countries are now improving very fast, and they are also very young which is a big advantage,” said Wang Yihan.
The world’s No.1 women’s player Caroline Marin took flamenco training in Spain until she was 12 years old before her talent in badminton was discovered. Prior to her consecutive wins garnering huge media attention in Spain, badminton was hardly a sport in the country and not broadcast on TV.
“It’s difficult because I don't have many practice partners. It is not like in India, or China or Indonesia. When I practice, it is usually with younger players,” said Marin. But her success in capturing championships from Asians has already ensured badminton got a boost back home.
“The development of the sport is very healthy,” said Thomas Lund, secretary-general of the Badminton World Federation, at a partnership launch ceremony that took place in China earlier. “There is a very good spread in the world and the countries and regions that are taking medals increase.”
As new hopefuls rise from countries such as the UAE, Spain and India, a more diverse competition of badminton is forming. “The world of badminton is now more fierce. It’s difficult to stay ahead of the game all the time,” said Chen Long. “For the coming final, I will as always do my best. But more importantly, I will enjoy the game with the best players in the world.”