Xinhua News Agency, Suzhou, May 16th Question: Badminton is not popular in Europe and America? The answer is somewhat unexpected.
Xinhua News Agency reporters Ji Ye, Ding Wenxian, Wang Hengzhi and Xu Shihao
Badminton originated in Europe, but the athletic field has been "ruled" by Asian players for many years. At the Sudirman Cup World Badminton Mixed Team Championship in Suzhou in 2023, except for Denmark, which has the men’s singles Olympic champion Arceloró, other European and American teams still find it hard to win in the face of Asian powers.
Although there are occasional successes, most European and American players can only play a supporting role in badminton. Is this sport still popular in Europe and America? When the reporter threw this question to the European and American players participating in this competition, he got some unexpected answers.
"I feel that badminton is the first sport in France." The French women’s singles player Hugh’s answer surprised the reporter. The world’s No.55 player lost 0-2 to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles match in the group match on the 15th, and the French team also lost two games in a row in the group match, leaving early.
Although the national team has a poor record, Hugh said: "Many people in our country are playing badminton. Although the level is not high, the sport is widely carried out at the club level." She explained that due to media reports, commercial investment and other reasons, football is undoubtedly the largest sports industry in their country, but in terms of participation, badminton is the first sport in France.
England’s men’s doubles team Ryan/Wendy defeated South Korea in the 15th match, but England still lost to South Korea with a total score of 1:4, and they also lost two games in a row in Group D with France.
Ryan/Wendy and Hutt feel the same way. They said that in England, the public participation of badminton can rank second in all events. "More than 1 million people in Britain play badminton more than once a week, because it is easy to play badminton, as long as there is an open space."
However, they also said that according to the scale of the industry, badminton can only rank tenth in sports in England. Badminton is not regarded as a competitive sport in England, and people play badminton with an entertaining attitude. Moreover, badminton can’t make professional players make a lot of money, and most young people will still choose sports with mature industries such as football. Badminton events are not highly exposed here, and football matches are shown on TV every week.
On the competitive level, Danish badminton has the strongest overall strength in Europe, with the emergence of the current president of the World Badminton Federation and Olympic champion Larsson, Gade, one of the "four kings" of badminton, and Ansailong, a gold medalist in the Olympic and World Championships. In 2016, the Danish team also won the Thomas Cup, which represents the highest honor of the world badminton men’s team for the first time. This is the first time that the Thomas Cup has been won by a team outside Asia.
With the approach of the Paris Olympic Games, France has begun to "have ideas" in sports. Rivas, the coach who trained Marin, the women’s singles champion of Rio Olympic Games, was invited to be the coach of the French team. France has also set up a support institution named "National Institute of Sports, Profession and Performance" for the national team, and is equipped with experts in psychology, nutrition and medicine. The coaching team can analyze according to all kinds of data and information to help athletes train individually.
In Rivas’ view, the French team will gradually become a strong force in European badminton, and will launch an impact on the Danish team in the future. To become a world power, it needs long-term planning and perseverance. "The goal of French badminton in the future is to become the top five or seven in the world."
Compared with the above countries and regions, the popularity of badminton in Germany is not very high. Fabian, a German men’s singles player who participated in this competition, told reporters that badminton is a minority sport in Germany. Few people play badminton in schools, and the media attention is relatively low. In Australia, Canada and other places, the development of badminton still depends on the efforts of Chinese players.