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Is badminton a national sport in any country?

Discussion in 'General Forum' started by hezudao, May 6, 2006.

  1. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    Hi all, permit me to conduct a quick and informal survey.

    I thought of this after yesterday's thomas cup semi-finals and reading the posts from supporters of different countries.

    My first question: In which country do you think the sport of badmintion matters the most?

    To be honest, I was taken aback by the amount of scrutiny, enthusiasm, support displayed from Malaysian badminton fans and the maelstrom of criticism and vitriol that followed after the tie (and also towards LYB, I might add).

    My perception thus, is that Malaysians on average, care more about their badminton team than other nationalities. Either that, or Malaysians tend to hang around the BC forum more. :)



    My second question: In which country can badminton be considered a national sport?

    I reckon to be acknowledged as a national sport, some factors have to be considered.

    1)a wonderful history and tradition of that sport in the country. (bonus points for inventing it)
    2)mass popularity and broad appeal from its citizens. (of all background, social status, income brackets etc.)
    3)a good or great national team
    4)an special status that is only reserved for this sport
    5)X-factor


    the first thing that comes to my mind is football(soccer) in South American nations (like brazil, argentina). When you have fans rioting, the odd case of murdering a rival fan, as well as traffic stopping and massive sick leaves during the world cup, its safe to say it becomes more of a religion.

    Baseball in the US, sumo in japan, and ice hockey in canada come close too.

    For badminton, the contenders are, i guess, the strong badminton nations like china, denmark, indonesia, malaysia and korea.

    But even in china, the strongest badminton nation (apologies to the other 4), that honor goes to table tennis. Basketball and soccer also get more coverage. The danes are more into soccer and other sports, imo. As for korea, I think golf and baseball are more popular. I reckon that only leaves indonesia and malaysia.

    What do u think?
     
    #1 hezudao, May 6, 2006
    Last edited: May 6, 2006
  2. black_knight006

    black_knight006 Regular Member

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    well...

    Well hello Mr. Hezudao,

    First of all those are two very good questions. The first question, "In which country does badminton matter the most," is a hard one to answer, especially considering China has well over a billion people...but at your suggestion they might want to include the question: "How important is badminton in your life?" in their next census. I would have to admit that Malaysia is a strong contender as Badminton Fanatic Country. They have a reasonable showing in national events, have a few renowned players, and currently have the Olympic Gold in singles, defeating a very good player from Korea in the finals. Taufik Hidayat, of MAS, actually happens to be my favourite player, followed closely by Peter Gade. I do believe that there are a few countries that badminton is of upmost importance and those countries are Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and believe it or not Denmark. The World Badminton Academy, (which I hope to attend in August 2007), is in Copenhagen, and Denmark is the country with the second highest number of players in the world, with 8 people in the top 24 players and 5 teams or individuals in the top 3 of each event. They are a force to be reckoned with. But which of those three countries is the most loving of it...impossible to tell...let your bias decide for you.

    Onto your second and more "interesting" question. Badminton is actually the national sport of only Indonesia and Singapore. Vietnam has badminton as a close second...but, honestly, name one Vietnam badminton player. Just one...:p But now I have to critically asses your choices for top five countries in where badminton is, as you so aptly state, a religion. Right off the bat I can tell you that Korea is out. You don't even mention it but Tae Kwon Do is the life and breath of that country. Baseball and golf are the two most popular, but Tae Kwon Do easily takes the #1 spot. China is next on the hit list. They are the highest ranked and most revered team in the world, but as you said, Table Tennis is their forte. (Altho Sweden is really starting to pull their socks up. They have some amazingly strong singles players...its great two see two Swedes fly at it). So again, China is out. Indonesia is out on the basis of lack of international showing. They just don't have enough good players to be considered. England on the other hand should be on the short list on the basis that they invented the sport and that they have a #1 ranked team, the duo of Robertson/Emms in Mixed Doubles. (They were actually a great team. They played against the currently 2nd ranked team from China and lost the first game 15-1. They battled back and won the second two. It was really quite amazing. What a battle that was). Anyways, England is out because of the same reason that Korea is out. They just don't have enough players in the top 24. They're good but not that good. Well I guess that leaves us back at where we were in the previous question..with the other three remaining countries. Denmark, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Denmark is a great country for badminton, the only non-asian team to have many players in the top 24, and they have a great history in the sport. Malaysia is still in...they love badminton like they do rice. And Indonesia has to be in on the basis that it is the only country of the three that has badminton as a national sport! Once again, let your bias decide for you! Thanks for reading my rant:cool:

    P.S. - did you know that the national sport of Russia is chess and the national sport of Saudi Arabia is falconry?
     
  3. crosscourt

    crosscourt Regular Member

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    oops

    Before you get lynched by the Indonesian BC'ers I should point out that Taufik is Indonesian!:D :D
     
  4. black_knight006

    black_knight006 Regular Member

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    HAHAHAHA...OOPS!!! I officially feel like an idiot...I don't know what I was thinking. I guess that's pretty sad when I don't know what country my favourite player resides in. Well so much for being smart:p
     
  5. event

    event Regular Member

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    So on what do you base your conclusion that Badminton is the national sport of Indonesia and Singapore? Are you using hezudao's criteria or are you going by something less involved such as a government decree or badminton's ranking by participation?
    hezudao never claimed badminton was a religion in these five countries. Read carefully. Hezudao selected these five as contenders (for being places where badminton is the nat'l sport) because they are the five strong badminton nations. This is a logical place to start.
    You are right about Korea being out. The list of reasons is endless. The Thomas Cup wasn't televised. Not even the average badminton player here knew it was on, let alone the general populace. The average Korean can only name the players who have won Olympic gold (yes, that means its Shon Seung-who? and Lee Dong-who?). An Indonesian friend here told me of seeing a former Chinese world champion in a crowded shopping district in Seoul. He was the only one who had any idea who she was.

    As for the rest of your observations about Korea, they're largely wrong. Baseball and golf are not the most popular, nor is Tae Kwon Do the "life and breath" of Korea. True, this last was declared the national sport in a nationalist move by the nation's dictator in the 60's (which simply elevated it and a select group of masters above other domestic martial arts and their masters) and a lot of Koreans buy into that and have a special place in their heart for it but it never generates much interest. It is rarely televised and top competitors are not household names except to the extent that Olympic gold medalists are in general. Alas, the most popular sport here is the same as it is anywhere. Only soccer whips the nation into a frenzy. Even before the World Cup was held here and entire neighbourhoods of Seoul were turned into seas of red T-shirts with these swarms of national team supporters filling the streets after every win, badminton gyms were always empty on any evening when the national team had a game on television, even a friendly. The difference between the mania surrounding the World Cup and the comparatively tame reception at Korea's advancement to the semi-finals of the recent World Baseball Classic was too pronounced to be attributed only to the difference in venue. Baseball gets a lot of TV coverage but the league has more games than other sports (Obviously. Anybody can stand around for 2h, 160 nights a year). Golf gets far more TV coverage than it should. The average Korean doesn't care but Korean women do well internationally and the sport has a lot of wannabe's and it generates a lot of money.

    But to get back to the point, badminton isn't even on the map in any of these categories. The only one of hezudao's categories that applies to Korea is the third one, about the strong national team.

    I think the obvious answer to hezudao's question is Indonesia. It has a long history. The crowds are larger than anywhere else and definitely louder. A group of two dozen Indonesians at a tournament in Korea can dominate the crowd response. It is the only country whose citizens have told me that "everyone plays badminton" and the general populace are familiar with their own country's stars but also with some of those of other nations. The strength of its national team is not in question even if the women are on the wane. These are my impressions, anyway, although I didn't form them during my two months in the country. I gleaned them from reading articles, listening to commentary and talking to Indonesian people. We could probably learn more from the many Indonesians on this forum. There are also many Malaysians who could tell us to what extent the same is true of Malaysia.
     
    #5 event, May 8, 2006
    Last edited: May 8, 2006
  6. Double_Player

    Double_Player Regular Member

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    Badminton is national sport of : Indonesia.

    Malaysian national sport more likely is sepak takraw, so is in Brunei Darussalam.
     
  7. terry

    terry Regular Member

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    I dun think sepak takraw is MAS national sport. :eek:
     
  8. event

    event Regular Member

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    Yes, but are you talking about government decree or are you talking about trusting hezudao's criteria? Remember that if we talk about what have been designated as "official" national sports, then Canada's is lacrosse. Some such designations mean something and some don't. Do you give triliums instead of roses to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day just because you live in Ontario? Does your mother wear sapphires instead of emeralds because she was born in September? Do Koreans take up Tae Kwon Do instead of soccer just because Park Cheong-heui made it the "national" sport in the 60s?
     
  9. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    Thank you black_knight006, crosscourt, event, Double_Player and terry for all your responses. I wanted to hear from people from different parts of the world. When i posed the 2nd question to my fellow Singaporean and Indonesian friends, most think the answer would be chosen between Indonesia and Malaysia.
     
  10. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    Thank you. Yes, hehe...:D, i agree. It can be very subjective. China has alot of baddie players and fans with such a big popu. but I wasn't thinking on the lines of the total number. From my impression, thru online chinese sports forums, the soccer and nba fans over there are more passionate about their respective sports than baddie fans. Denmark is remarkable considering its popu. but maybe I have been lurking around here too much, no one matches intensity of the malaysian and indonesian fans.


    Singapore? I wasn't aware of that. I know soccer is no.1 over there.

    yes, how can i forget Tae Kwon Do in korea? It is an olympic event too.

    I would put cricket, football/soccer and even tennis ahead of badminton in england. it has alot of history there but winning the thomas cup will only be on the second page of the sports news section even if the soccer team only reach the knock out round of the world cup.

    very interesting. no i didn't know that:)
     
  11. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    The criteria i listed are actually just random factors I considered off the top of my head. Please feel free to correct them and add to it too. come to think of it, international recognition also factors in.

    Ask a random person off the street: pick a country and then think of a sport most commonly associated with that country. most would link brazil with football. u.s with baseball or american football or even basketball etc...

    Govt. decree is interesting, I didn't know they do that. and yes, about the religion part, i was talking about soccer in south america.

    Thank you very much, very insightful analysis, indeed. Soccer again, aaahhh. I was tempted to put that in the list for korea but I thought the frenzy was mostly because of the recent world cup held there and the team getting into the semis. but the koreans have a good team, maybe top 3 in asia with japan and iran. and they always qualify for the wc.

    I agree.
     
    #11 hezudao, May 9, 2006
    Last edited: May 9, 2006
  12. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    ok i think official designation do mean something but it doen't mean it is 'correct' and could always change in the future. the official national costume for the PRC (china) is the manchu qipao. but it actually only is the dress of a ethinic minority group and not representative of the main Han people.
     
  13. Linus

    Linus Regular Member

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    Hezudao (am I right that in Chinese this means "Not worthy to mention"? :D ) has asked a highly debatable question! I doubt there will ever be a definite answer unless there is an official version from the state/country.

    Take Singapore for example, if goes by mass support and popularity then soccer will win hands down. By does Singapore has any strong tradition and notable performance in soccer, the answer is NO (unless we restrict it to regional performance then arguably we did ok). A recent nation-wide survey has put badminton somewhere in the 5th or 6th position of Singaporean's favourite sports, I remembered swimming was first. But badminton is the highest placed racket sport!

    If goes by your criteria, it will be something like this for Singapore:
    1)a wonderful history and tradition of that sport in the country. (bonus points for inventing it) = hardly any, if we think of a sport that Singapore has dominated in the Southeast Asia Region, then I would say Waterpolo.
    2)mass popularity and broad appeal from its citizens. (of all background, social status, income brackets etc.) = this has to go to Soccer.
    3)a good or great national team = a good Warterpolo and Swimming team and a close to world-class Tabletennis team that can compete and win something in regional and some world-class competition.
    4)an special status that is only reserved for this sport = unfortunately, sportsmen/sportswomen are not too highly regarded in Singapore. The only true idol we ever had was local soccer star Fandi in the 1980s.
    5)X-factor = Soccer. Singaporean is just obsessed when it comes to soccer.

    Having said that, and despite the number of good quality badminton courts available in Singapore, it is very hard to get a court during weekday evenings. It does show that although badminton is not among any of the criteria above - it is still a very popular recreational sport in Singapore.
     
  14. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    than you for the reply,Linus. i failed to mention about swimming with ang peng siong, joscelin yeo and the waterpolo team. I agree, even the great sporting achievements tend to be limited to asia and well more accurately, SEA region. with exception to li jiawei and susilo's victories of course. and they're 'foreign' talent.
     
  15. hezudao

    hezudao Regular Member

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    very succinct and perceptive.
    my list of factors is very loosely formed, by all means modify them to your liking.
     
  16. nelsonkong

    nelsonkong Regular Member

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    I would say Badminton is our national sport or the lame bola sepak..

    Sepak takraw?? highly doubted it.
     
  17. Loh

    Loh Regular Member

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    Times have changed. TV brought the more popular and sponsor-supported sports right to the doorsteps of the ordinary people in Singapore. TV viewers may not have played the game or sport (like soccer, baseball, wrestling, golf, waterpolo, horse-racing, car racing, etc) but they grew to like them just the same because of their entertainment value and easy accessibility.

    In terms of active participation in a sport that requires facilities, unlike road-running or walking, I would think that casual, non-competitive swimming should rank no.1 here, followed by soccer. Badminton is not far off and is indeed the no. 1 racket sport, even ahead of table-tennis.

    Soccer ranks very high on the list partly because of the influence of the mass media, newspapers, magazines and particularly the TV (daily dosage of English League and European soccer). In addition, betting on soccer has been legalized and this has brought in many followers who like to gamble.

    On the other hand, although many play badminton and the public courts are often fully booked especially during weekends, very little coverage appears in the press, even on local tournaments and there is not even a magazine strictly on badminton, unlike in China and the Philippines. But we're are luckier than most in the West when it comes to international tournaments like the recent TC and UC and IBF sanctioned Opens as TV coverage on the more prestigious events are televized.

    I should say badminton definitely ranks high on our list of sports and games in Singapore. Any further success at regional and international tournaments will certainly add more to its popularity. :)
     
    #17 Loh, May 9, 2006
    Last edited: May 9, 2006
  18. wirre

    wirre Regular Member

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    Just don't know what to say about this:confused:

    Sweden have been a thorn in the Chinese side for over forty years, it's not like they are "starting" to do anything. Actually they have been less irritating the last decade since their strength have been declining due to age (and no new generation taking over). So at the present I'd say they are more about to "stop" pulling anyones socks.......

    <rant disclaimer>
    Finally, it is just about one month until the most important sports event on this planet starts (yes it beats the OG) so maybe some of you will have enough of time to cure your ignorance and understand that it is called *FOOTBALL*.

    http://www.fifa.com/en/organisation/confederations/index.html

    Anyone see that the S*#¤%& word is used in the name of any of these confederations? And what do you think the abbreviation FA stands for? (organisation for the sport in inventing/founding country England)
    <rant over>

    To keep on topic I guess INA is probably the best answer for both questions. Maybe not exactly spot on but as close as it'll ever come.

    /mats
     
  19. black_knight006

    black_knight006 Regular Member

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    Okay bud, you wanna call it football you go ahead and do that. FA is in England eh? WELL...considering they don't rule the world anymore, what do you say we call it whatever WE want to. If your side of the atlantic ever happens by some cataclysmic happening to rule the world again then we can review it, but considering they don't...I'll call it whatever I damn well please:D
     
  20. crosscourt

    crosscourt Regular Member

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    ....but you'd still be wrong!;) :D

    Seriously though, when I was at the All England in January I overheard someone who looked Malay (but then I am no expert) saying to his friends (who were English) that Badminton was the national sport of Malaysia and that defeat in Badminton was particularly difficult to handle as it was the only sport in which Malaysia competes at a high level on the international stage. I'm not saying I agree with it, just what I overheard.
     

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