Badminton World Federation (BWF) and HSBC have joined hands to launch a brand new sport – AirBadminton. It is an ambitious newly designed sport to create opportunities for people of all ages and ability to play badminton on hard, grass and sand surfaces in parks, gardens, streets, playgrounds, and beaches around the world. This exciting project has been in the making for the last five years.
The underlying essence of the game lies in arming as many people as possible with a racket. Not only does the outdoor version of the sport promotes exercise but also increases sociability. People of all ages can enjoy this game. What’s more, it provides an alternate career to retired professionals.
A global launch ceremony was organized outside Tianhe Gymnasium in Guangzhou, China. BWF President and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games men’s singles gold medallist Poul-Erik Høyer officiated the launch.
“Given that most people’s first experience with badminton comes in an outdoor environment, we are now making it easier for everyone to access the sport through a new outdoor game and new shuttlecock, the AirShuttle. In the future, we see AirBadminton as an exciting, new, energetic version of the sport. Overall, the aim is to inspire more people to play more badminton in more places,” said Høyer.
A new game calls for a new format. AirBadminton court has a two-meter dead zone at the front. Should the AirShuttle land in that area, it is a fault. Points cannot be scored off the net area because control of the shuttle up front is very difficult.
BWF is currently working with leading sports manufacturers to mass produce and roll out the AirShuttle. The eventual aim is for the shuttlecock to be played in wind up to 12km per hour. The AirShuttle, available in bright colours, is the most important component of this new format. It has been designed to have similar acoustics and feel to that of a regular shut but will have minimal impact from the side and axial wind and limited influence from humidity variations.
Olympic bronze medallist and former world number, Saina Nehwal fully supports the new sport in the market. She said: “In India, we mostly get introduced to this sport as an outdoor game only. We played it with our parents and friends outside the house. This is a great initiative by BWF to bring it to the fore and promote it.”
BWF has also launched a new format, called ‘Triples’, where a team comprises of three players, at least one female. The players are not allowed to hit successive returns.