Amateur badminton enjoys surge in popularity

Updated: 2014-08-04 15:37


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Badminton's popularity in China has skyrocketed in recent years, credited by officials in the Chinese Badminton Association to a range of factors that make it easily accessible to amateurs. Affordable equipment, self-determined levels of intensity, the ease with which new players can learn the basics, and indoor courts that allow for play in all weather conditions make the sport attractive for both those seeking a serious commitment and those looking for a relaxing hobby.

The undeniable success that Chinese superstars, such as Lin Dan, have achieved on the national and global stage has also propelled the Chinese love affair with badminton. China won five gold medals in badminton at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and currently holds the record for the most medals out of any country.

Currently, nearly 20 Chinese provinces field professional badminton teams, and amateur clubs are springing up throughout the country. At a press conference following the final match of the 2014 Red Bull Super Final Amateur Badminton Tournament, Li Yongbo, head coach of the Chinese national team, said he was "happy and excited that so many more people are participating in recreational badminton" and that "badminton has become the most popular sport among Chinese people".

He said almost 7,000 teams and more than 60,000 amateur badminton players from all over China participated in this year's tournament. The winners of the tournament, Zhejiang's Yin Jiang Badminton Club, earned a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the 2014 Badminton World Championships, where they will test their mettle against Denmark's top amateur team.