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Say Hello! to new age Badminton- The AirBadminton

Say Hello! to new age Badminton- The AirBadminton

Shivansh Gupta

Published: 20 May 2019 2:43 PM GMT
At some point during your childhood and even till date, you must have taken to outdoor make-shift badminton courts for a quick game with your friends and family if you didn't have access to indoor courts. However, the mission of successfully completing a badminton set in the open came along with several deterrents. If the wind speed was high, play would not be possible. If you were playing in a parking lot, cars would interrupt you every other minute. You couldn't play during hot summer afternoons and on a rainy day. During winters, you simply didn't feel like venturing outdoors. Sometimes, you would have come across a loosely tied net or one that was torn in various places. Have I missed out on something? Oh,yes! Just in case you ticked all of the above boxes, you often found your plastic shuttlecock to be broken or had no choice but to play with a feather shuttles. Brings back memories, right? Well, all you enthusiastic shuttlers, you need not worry anymore. That's because the Badminton World Federation (BWF) launched a new outdoor game called AirBadminton last week in Guangzhou Moreover, the federation has also launched a new outdoor shuttlecock, the AirShuttle. BWF, along with its global partner HSBC, has come up with a new project that will now allow people of all ages and abilities to play the sport on hard, grass and sand surfaces in beaches, playgrounds, backyards and even streets. Reportedly, the project started five years ago with a vision to develop a new outdoor shuttlecock, that would be capable of withstanding high wind speeds and allowing people to have a pleasant outdoor experience. Poul-Erik Hoyer—BWF President and Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games men’s singles gold medallist—said at the launch event this form of Badminton will encourage a wider audience around the world to play the sport. He also mentioned that this project has paved way to a new, highly attractive form of competitive badminton.
“This is a momentous occasion for badminton. Strategically, AirBadminton will allow us to fulfil our overall objective of putting a badminton racket in the hands of as many people as possible. 
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,” expressed Hoyer while speaking to the press at the launch event. Top Indian shuttlers have welcomed the new format of the sport with open arms. Speaking to PTI, former world No.1, Saina Nehwal
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." The Olympic bronze medallist also mentioned that this format will encourage global participation as well. Another ace Indian shuttler, HS Prannoy also came out in support. "Indoor badminton is much more physically demanding, so players after retiring can keep playing Airbadminton and keep having an alternative career.There is a lot of money in outdoor badminton. Especially in Kerala, I have seen players going to different places and playing every night and earning good money, so it is a great initiative,” 
he told PTI, suggesting that more retired players can also take up the sport. 2014 Commonwealth Games champion, Parupalli Kashyap reminisced about a promotional game with B Sai Praneeth during the Swiss Open in March with snow clad Mount Titlis staring at them in the background. “It was windy and it was extremely difficult to play but I think in conditions which are not too windy, it will be fun. It is a good experiment.The game is the same, so if more people play the sport, you might spot a good talent, who goes on to play the traditional indoor game and does well for India, said Kashyap, who played outdoor badminton at inter-school level. BWF seemed to have recognized the potential of this format to the best of its ability. They are now working on the mass production of the AirShuttle, that will be able to withstand wind speeds up to 12 km/h. The new format, moreover, will include new court dimensions, making it more suitable for outdoor surfaces such as hard, grass and sand.
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