World Champion P V Sindhu was on Wednesday unveiled as one of the ambassadors for Badminton World Federation (BWF)'s 'i am badminton' awareness campaign. The campaign provides a platform for players to express their love and respect for badminton by advocating and committing to clean and honest play.
Sindhu, an Olympic silver medallist, said playing clean and honest is very important in any sport. "This message starts with one voice. If we as ambassadors can highlight this, then I think this will spread to more players," said the 24-year-old Indian. "You are playing the sport for yourself. You need to be happy about it. You have to play it very clean and that is very important to me."
It has been five years since BWF's Integrity Unit was formed and this time the campaign has been at the forefront of the governing body's efforts to communicate its approach towards integrity. Besides Sindhu, other ambassadors include Canada's Michelle Li, Chinese duo of Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong, England's Jack Shephard, Germany's Valeska Knoblauch, Hong Kong's Chan Ho Yuen and Germany's Marc Zwiebler, who is Athletes' Commission Chair.
"It's hoped such a concerted effort will not only raise awareness across the entire badminton landscape but encourage players to be active participants in shaping the integrity of the sport," the BWF said in a release. Former elite players who have fronted the campaign since 2016 include BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer, BWF Para Badminton Athletes' Commission Chair Richard Perot, and superstars such as Saina Nehwal, Viktor Axelsen, Hendra Setiawan, Christinna Pedersen, Chen Long, Misaki Matsutomo and Akaya Takahashi.
"Every player has the right to compete in clean and fair sport. Match fixing, match manipulation and doping are contrary to the spirit of sport. As an ambassador, we all play an important role in safeguarding the future of badminton," Høyer said. "Our youth and Para badminton players are perceived to be at greater risk of match manipulation and doping due to their lack of exposure on the international circuit. The idea of the 'i am badminton' campaign is for us as role models to share our experiences with these target groups so they have a heightened level of awareness on the importance of anti-match manipulation and anti-doping."