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Australia...

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by Matt Ross, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Matt Ross

    Matt Ross Regular Member

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    Hi all,

    Amazing isn't it? One of the smallest countries in the world go and produce the best sporting players in the world. With a population of only 19 million compared to China, which has around 1.6 billion people.
    Like i said, Australia have produced great sporting success. The produce the world best swimmers, the produce the worlds best cricketers, the produce the worlds best netballers, the produce the world number one tennis player and also the worlds best rugby team, and many others. The are also starting to put together a very strong international football team! So how do they do it?
    Obviously they have the struture set up brilliantly over there to fed players from from foundation right up to international level. It seems if they take up a sport, they produce one of the best in the world, which is quite amazing for its size.
    Badminton is very low profile over there, not many people play it over there and it isn't very popular. Here are some figures of the highest rankings...

    > Men's Singles - 77
    > Women's Singles - 39
    > Men's Doubles - 81
    > Women's Doubles - 87
    > Mixed Doubles - 53

    Not bad, all the best players are within the top 90 in the world, so here is what i ask..
    If Australia produce such good athletes at international level, be it rugby, football etc....if badminton has more high profile over there, more punlic awareness and participation, could they be a threat to the asian dominance of badminton? Worth a thought...

    What are your views?
    Matt
     
  2. trademark14

    trademark14 Regular Member

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    heck no.....:) they're good at what they're good at, because those are their sport.

    it's not an excuse that they cant come up with top badminton player because badminton is not a popular sport in Australia... and i dont think Australia is that small, its pretty big to me and diverse. Look at Japan or Korea, their country are even smaller.
     
  3. Matt Ross

    Matt Ross Regular Member

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    Hi,

    So rugby, cricket, tennis, netball, swimming, football are all their national sports? For them to get to that stage, the sport had to be introduced for it to get high status. What i am trying to say is IF they was to make badminton more high profile, with the scheme they havem would they be able to churn out good players and break the Asian dominance like they do at other sports?

    Matt
     
  4. wilfredlgf

    wilfredlgf Regular Member

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    I believe what Matt meant by 'small' is the population, not the size of the country itself. And I did read about this some three years ago on a local paper, about the ratio of sports success to their total population.

    I agree that better public awareness and participation would do a lot of good to badminton there. I've read and watched TV about Australia's sports infrastructure and programmes and I believe a good coach from one of the traditional badminton powers of the world could help push their already talented players to become even better, and at the same time build up an effective coaching programme suited to their own style. I'm sure they're good, but perhaps lack the touch to turn them into champions which experienced coaches could. I wonder if there are any former world players coaching the national team there?

    Hey, if they're second only to America in swimming, I don't see the reason why they cannot be second to Indonesia in badminton (or better, but this would take some doing).

    Still, the most important thing now is to raise the popularity of badminton there and generate greater interest.
     
  5. Pecheur

    Pecheur Regular Member

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    Since when were we second to America in swimming, we're no 1 baby! (actually I'm not sure who won the last bout ;P).

    Can we ever challenge Indo at baddy? Nope, nada, no way, not unless we get so scared of the sun that we no longer want to be outdoors. Simply put, why would you want to spend a nice, sunny day indoors when you could be out in the sun having fun? Have a look, every single sport that Australia is good at is an outdoor sport. Hell there are days when I'm playing badminton when I think, may be it'd be nicer to be playing tennis outside right now? Then there's swimming ... being girt by sea as we are, every kid is made to swim pretty much from pre school for at least 4 years. In 4 years you pretty much find all the good swimmers in the country unlike in most countries where most good swimmers may never be discovered early enough. I learnt how to play tennis at the age of 10, certainly didn't learn badminton till much later. Cricket too, and rugby, let's face it, building with wooden floors are at a premium here, big grassy fields are much easier to find here.

    About baddy coaching here? Our previous coach was a former world No 3 singles player (now coaching the UK womens team), we had a No 1 at singles and doubles player (now in China coaching in a stadium named after her) and currently there's a world number two doubles player here and coaching. We have plenty of coaches, just need some that have good english ;)
     
    #5 Pecheur, Jun 11, 2003
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2003
  6. wilfredlgf

    wilfredlgf Regular Member

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    Hey, at least in the Olympics anyway. I don't follow much on swimming, but I do know that Ian Thorpe's one helluva swimmer. Sorry anyway. :)

    Hey, good players don't make good coaches. Just look at John Barnes; great Liverpool legend, took over Celtic and was sacked soon after.

    But hey, swimming is by majority an indoor sport! :D Sure, you can do that at the beach, the river etc...

    Any other Aussies care to add their two cents worth? Come on!
     
  7. Hugo

    Hugo Regular Member

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    I will have to disagree about the statement relating to Indonesia. It is very tough to call them FIRST among today's badminton power houses. This may have been true 20, or 30 years ago. Indonesia can win the Thomas Cup marginally but they haven't touched the Sudirman Cup in at least a decade and that is the cup which I think proclaims overall badminton superiority. So, really, it is more proper to say that the Aussies have potential to come second to China or Korea in overall badminton superiorty in the future if they start developing badminton at the grassroot level.

    Relating to Matt's post, I think any nation that has good junior development and overall strong infrastructure in any given sport can become strong in it at a world stage. One example is hockey, in which 50 years ago, no nation dared to even say they are on the same league as Canada. Now, 50 years later, Canada has strong oppostition in the U.S., and about 4 or 5 European nations. Another example is table tennis, in which China was unheard of say, even 30 to 40 years ago. In those days, Europeans and Japanese dominated the sport. Now, China can normally claim at least 3 or 4 medals of 5 at the TT world champs without too much difficulty.
    Perhaps the best badminton example is Denmark, who can produce enough world class players to challenge Asia's best from their tiny ~5.3 million population.
    It all arises from a desire to excel in a sport and enough $$$ and time spent into achieving that goal.

    Heck, one day, we may see world class Chinese hockey players or American shuttlers!
     
  8. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    The impression that I got is that the Aussies (or Ozzies) down under are fun- and sports-loving people. Looks like it has been a tradition for a long time now.

    They have a well-developed sports infra-structure for both hardware and software and, I think, an elite sports centre in Adelaide where the best sportsmen and women congregate and train. They also do research on the various aspects of sports and are well-advanced of most countries.

    Our own Sports Council looks to their Sports Institute for assistance and collaboration on many sports issues and this has been a fruitful relationship, I'm sure.

    Not too long ago (5, 10, 15 years), because of the stressful lifestlye in Singapore, many parents decided to move their families to Australia, especially for a more relaxed kind of education for their young children. But whether such Asian children took to badminton subsequently, or are still book-biased, is not known.

    From what I understand, Australia does have a strong and active Badminton Association to promote the game there. But somehow the game has not reached the high levels and popularity that the other "outdoor" games like swimming, hockey, rugby, cricket, netball and athletics have achieved.

    Maybe, as some posters have alluded to, badminton is viewed by many as being "sissy" and not tough and rough enough for the masses. Once this view is changed, there is no stopping Australia from being among the best in the world.
     
  9. dlp

    dlp Regular Member

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    I think there is a diffeence in badminton and swimming, athletics, cycling even rugby to some extent. The difference is the skill level / tactics/mental side of the game. There are infinite shot combinations and styles in badminton making it very difficult to build to world class level without a tradition in the sport.

    In the other sports the event is more a time trial, i.e. the opponent cannot influence your performance, therefore given an athlete with the right genetics a training programme can be applied which should give world class results. Whilst competition in the country may help it is not directly necessary.

    In the UK sport is not played as much, swimming and cricket are very minority sports. Australia have the weather so they are always outside, in UK you can never guarantee the weather!

    In short whilst Australia are exceptional in some sports I don not believe they will be a powerhouse in badminton in the foreseeable future. England have a better chance !!!!
     
  10. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    i think dlp has it right. Those games the Australians excel in are mostly about power. Sure they have their techniques but compared to badminton and tabletennis where small movements of fingers make big differences, most sports that Australians excel can't compare.

    And the powersports they really excel in are swimming, rugby, tennis.

    It's easier to play a powersport - just use strength! Same principle in badminton, easier to play powershots like smash, clear, than to play dropshots, spinning tumble netshots disguise flicks from the net etc.
     
  11. Matt Ross

    Matt Ross Regular Member

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    Hi,

    I just thought that with the infa-structure that they have to produce these world athletes was used in the same way but for badminton, they may have a chance at competing to the highest level. The certainly have got it going good though if a population of that size produces world class atheletes in a number of sports.

    Matt
     
  12. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    The statistics produced by Matt shows that even at its present state of development, Australia is not really that bad in badminton, with so many of its shuttlers ranked within the world 100 in the various events.

    Of course, Australia is not in the class of England yet, the results of the team events at the last Manchester Commonwealth Games would reveal the standings. Considering that England is the mother to badminton, in the sense that that's where badminton originated from, and where a very strong tradition has evolved over a much longer period, it would not be possible for Australia to supersede England in the foreseeable future.

    If we only narrow down to just power, which the Australians have in abundance and the dexterity that is much required in badminton and for which the Australians seemed to be lacking, as inferred in Cheung's post, then badminton powerhouse Denmark should not have made it long ago.

    I say this because the Danes and the Aussies are not very much different in constitution coming from more or less the same ancestry (Caucasians), unlike the Chinese, yet they have consistently produced world-class badminton players. I'd say the Danes have a long badminton tradition, whereas the Aussies have yet to acquire it yet. Therefore, given time and a change in attitude of its sportspeople, they can also make it to the top. Just as the Danes have shown it, badminton skills can be acquired by anyone who cares to learn and train hard.
     
  13. dlp

    dlp Regular Member

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    If you compare with Wales , who produced 2 good singles players in recent years, Vaughan and Morgan, the difference is the Welsh player can access the England competitions from junior through to senior and at elite levels can go to Denmark to play. So they are not just relying on the welsh infrastructure alone and the lack of welsh depth of elite players doesn't affect them. It would be very difficult for any junior even with an imported coach to come from Australia I imagine and be world class. Unless of course they can regularly make use of another countrys competitive structure.
     
  14. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    hmm, I hope you are not implying that I say Australian's can't make it because they have power and less dexterity:) All I am saying is that a powergame is easier to learn and that applies to any person (not just Aussies:p) . Australians love going outside, and outdoor sports are more power based. I wouldn't say either that an Australian cannot learn the fine movements for badminton as well. But if you don't have enough of the expertise in the country, only a few indviduals are going to benefit.
     
  15. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    New Zealand has some fair players considering the small population there.
     
  16. dlp

    dlp Regular Member

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    Yes its not how big a population you have but how many play within that population, what sort of play structure you have. USA for instance have the population but baring imports are unlikely to challenge tiny Denmark. Within any country there are hotspots for badminton and good players have to come out of or graduate towards those, so the millions of social players you may have are oftendisconnected from the overall elite play structure, except that having more gives you a better chance of picking up talented/physically exceptional athletes to the sport. In AUstralia those athletes are likely to be picked up by other sports first. Nick Kidd is I believe Australian and has come to England to train last couple of years where he is a top ten player. He is physically extremely good or better than the English and even technically sound but even with international tournament experience he lacks something in the tactical / mental department at present, perhaps if he had moved to England earlier he would have been right at the top of our squad???
     
  17. Pecheur

    Pecheur Regular Member

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    Ah yes but we have the English public school system for teaching the world games for which to flog the Pommes at ... Rugby or cricket anyone? ;)

    I think as a general rule the English have a more sedentary lifestyle that Aussies, and no offence but tactically I don't think the UK is all that advanced at all. If Australia became an indoors sporting country then I think we would flog the pommes, hell we beat them at everything else ;)

    For Loh's comment about sporting institutes, well we have one per state, however the one in Adelaide is actually our major cricket academy. Canberra has the Australian institute, which has the majority of our sports, however badminton is based in Victoria (with the base of teh national squad) and to a certain extent Western Australia, Hockey is in Perth, so it's spread out. Have to say though the facilities in Canberra are great, though not for badminton.
     
  18. Kiwiplayer

    Kiwiplayer Regular Member

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    Speaking of rugby, it's a bit disconcerting to see the English actually winning. If they beat the All Blacks this Saturday, it's going to be unbearable here. Just as well they're not going to win.

    Back to the topic. If my memory serves me correctly, the original impetus for the amazingly successful sporting infrastructure in Oz came as a result of a particularly bad Olympic games (80's ?) where Australia did really badly. I think even NZ did better at those games. This traumatised the aussies so badly that the government decided to pump LOADS of money into sports resulting in not only advanced training centres, but also a whole system of talent scouting aimed at directing promising youngsters towards sports that they might excel at (even if they had never even tried it). They haven't looked back since.
     

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