The Executive Committee of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) yesterday unanimously accepted the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) application for badminton to become part of the Universiade sports programme. This followed a detailed presentation by a three-member delegation, led by BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer and including BWF Development Chair, David Cabello (also a FISU Executive Committee member), and BWF Director of Operations, Stuart Borrie.
Addressing the second day of FISU’s Executive Committee meeting in Gwangju, Korea, Høyer explained at length the benefits which could arise from badminton’s inclusion on the Universiade sports programme. Thereafter, the Executive Committee determined BWF had fulfilled all the criteria for badminton’s admission as a compulsory sport.
“We are pleased to have been successful in our application. It is certainly another significant step for badminton on the global stage and we look forward to its debut as a compulsory sport in 2021,” said Høyer, noting this ties in with BWF’s development plans.
“There is a lot of scope to develop badminton among universities and other tertiary-level institutions and today is a step in the right direction, especially given our focus on this segment of the global community.
“Last year we introduced a university version of Shuttle Time – our grassroots development programme – geared at trainee teachers and sports students who are seeking to become physical education or class teachers. This enables physical education teachers to introduce badminton in a fun and safe manner to children and this not only creates a new base of tutors but, more importantly, increases badminton’s sustainability in non-traditional badminton countries by providing a natural source of badminton-trained teachers for schools.
“So we are constantly working to address badminton-related needs on the global university landscape – and it’s good to see various parts of our strategic plan coming together.”
Until badminton was included, the Summer Universaide had 11 compulsory sports which hosts must have in the programmes – and they can add up to three optional sports. Badminton has been hosted as an optional sport at most of the recent Summer Universiades – Bangkok 2007, Shenzhen 2011, Kazan 2013 and again this week in Gwangju. Badminton will also be hosted as an optional sport in 2017 when the Summer Universiade will be hosted in Taiwan.
Meanwhile, the biennial Summer Universiade begins tomorrow in Gwangju, with the badminton tournament starting on Monday 6 July, with a team competition followed by an individual battle in the five traditional categories.
There are 260 players entered from 38 countries across all five continental confederations. Yet again, there is a star-filled field with some of the sport’s top international players in action. The hosts will showcase a strong contingent, with the likes of Olympic gold medallist and Men’s Doubles world No.1, Lee Yong Dae; reigning Men’s Doubles World champion, Ko Sung Hyun; Son Wan Ho in Men’s Singles and Women’s Singles ace Sung Ji Hyun, who will be defending the title she won at Summer Universiade 2013 in Kazan, Russia.
Other notable names are Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand who won the Men’s Singles title two years ago; Tai Tzu Ying (Women’s Singles; Chinese Taipei), Chinese Women’s Doubles twins, Luo Ying/Luo Yu; Busanan Ongbumrungpan (Women’s Singles; Thailand); and doubles specialist, Poon Lok Yan (Hong Kong).