06-07-2012, 01:30 AM #1
CBA - End of a Golden Era in sight?
Now, I want to say it right now that I admire the CBA for everything it has achieved in the past 2-3 decades of being part of the international badminton community. The world has learnt much from their commitment, talent, and unfailing competitive spirit. I wonít go into the other, more debatable aspects of their domination here. But the world has also learnt much from their fantastic infrastructure, and dedication to the spirit of continuity.
I have this sinking feeling that China badminton is fast approaching a crossroads. The golden era is probably fast coming to an end. ConsiderÖ
Lin Dan wonít be around for long. Chen Jin may possibly retire even before LD. And Chen Long may not last Too Long (pardon the pun!) given his unique physical style. The other Menís singles players get regularly tossed around and put down by players from other countries. And there is no youngster with real potential on the horizon. So much for the future of Menís Singles.
Womenís singles, admittedly, looks in much better health. Apart from bossing the format to completely, the CBA actually have a lot of new, young talent coming up through the ranks, who have the potential to replace their compatriots right at the top. So far, so good. But look out for the ambush! Champion-material girls are sprouting up everywhere: Korea, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and India, to name a few. Itís going to be a distinctly slippery slope within the next 2-3 years, once WX is gone, WYH is slowing down, and LXR is left holding the ball with some partial assist.
Menís doubles have leant far too heavily for too long on their star pair, CY/FHF; admittedly just like, in fact, most of the other top countries. No depth. In fact, the Koreans have a lot more depth in this format, and are due to dominate it within the next year or so, and there onwards for a long, long time. China can safely say goodbye to their position in this format. They donít really have any pairs coming up to be real challengers. Besides, other pairs from other countries are creeping up on CB/GZD, who look distinctly shaky even where they are at the moment.
Womensí doubles poses an interesting situation. They have 2 top pairs who boss the world. But both pairs could be reaching their best-before date in the next 1-2 years. At the same time, the girls from Korea, Japan and possibly Thailand are making their moves, and there is every likelihood that INA/MAS and others will be snapping at the heels of all the above. BYX/ZQX look promising, but can they fill those tall shoes? Time will tell, I suppose, but theyíll be fighting for their lives against the girls from elsewhere. Itís going to be a free-for-all, and I suspect once again, the Koreans will slip out from under and run away with the prize.
The mixed doubles format, again have 2 pairs from China leading the world; but only just! Both pairs have had their ups and downs against some of the other top players, but have managed to keep their noses ahead in the rankings. But thatís all; look beyond them, and itís like falling off the edge of a cliff. The next best Chinese pair is HHB/BYX, and HHB is due to start cashing in his pension, any day now! The XD format is like an international conference, and itís due to get even more confusing, but Iíd watch out for the Koreans, Japanese, Indonesians, Danes, Brits, and (just to tweak the tails of some narrow-minded people,) the Indians.
So, is this all LYBís fault? No, not hardly! Heís done China proud, along with his team of fantastic ex-players-turned-coaches, and not a little help from the techies and wise old men like TXH. But no one, not even the most powerful committee can prevent the winds of change from blowing however they want.
The cupboard is beginning to look bare.
The warning signs are all there.
The ups and downs, the kings and clowns,
Theyíve all played without a care.
But now the time is winding down; the coaches have a frown,
Itís Indonesia all over again,
O Holy Crap! Öthe futureís a trap!
Of iPads, iBirds, and just a memory of the game!
06-07-2012, 02:06 AM #2
Offhand,without much thinking,just to start the ball rolling with you, yes,
1) The MS, what you say is just about right. After Chen Jin and Lin Dan's impending retirements, and only Chen Long the outstanding one to hold the fort, and seemingly no one else on the horizon to step up to the plate - it's beginning to look worrisome;
2) WS, their strongest and safest bet, with wave after wave of new hopefuls and future world beaters , at least for another decade or two, I believe;
3) MD, is in an even worse situation than MS, after Cai/Fu, there isn't the equivalent of Chen Long in th MD to step into their shoes - this is one of the two weakest departments;
4) WD, the ID (Invincible Duo, I once dubbed them) is no longer that dominating. Though they also have TQ/ZYL, the equivalent of Chen Long , the situation is not much better than their MS department - their other pairs are more beatable;
5) XD, one of the two worst departments together with MD, possibly the worst because their non-CHN rivals are more or less as good, presently the rest of the world's best hope of wresting major titles from the Chinese.
One of the reasons for the possible end of China's golden era could be attributed to her rising affluence. I heard more and more countryside parents urging their kids to make their marks in life through entrepreneurship, or at least good employment or academia, than sport. It 's just too competitive in sport and too few have the chance to play overseas being one of the drawbacks.
(to be continued)...
Last edited by Justin L; 06-07-2012 at 02:10 AM.
06-07-2012, 02:20 AM #3
Another challenge is the rest of the world are catching up albeit slowly though traditional powerhouses like INA and MAS are waning,new ones are gradually rising in their place, namely, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Denmark, India. To me,although China wins practically all the major titles the last couple of years, the gap between them and the rest are not as wide as it appears on paper.
For example,in MS,to quote Peter Gade,it's mainly all about Lin Dan. After his retirement? Chen Long is no Lin Dan,at least no sign of it yet but he will be among the very top for sure.
06-07-2012, 03:29 AM #4
If China's badminton hinterland, which I include not just the countryside but also the numerous small towns, is shrinking slowly, then she 'll have to depend increasingly more on city children to take up the sport. not so much for monetary gains or livelihood,more for the love of the game - that would over time make China's situation similar to the developed and fast developing nations. The advantage of a large critical mass to tap from will cease to be one of the factors of success for China.
Moreover,China today, 34 years after her opening up and wide-ranging reforms, is indeed a very different place as compared to the Cold War period (not China's fault). Chinese youngsters share quite similar interests,desires ,hopes,dreams as their counterparts across the globe. As time goes by, in fact very quickly, their ideology or consciousness or life's pursuits (material and spiritual) , whether for fame,money or both, more than for national glory (rightly or wrongly I'm not arguing here) will converge, the distinctions blurred (for example, I want fame,money and glory for my country - and not simply, the State takes care of me, so Nation before Self).
I will go so far as to say, the driving force, the spirit of "Nation before Self", "All for my Country" will sound more like a motto, a slogan than a true reflection of self, not that it's no longer there or important,only less gripping. The reason,one of the,is I think,the world has become a global village,with people moving about practically freely, travelling ,migrating,inter-marrying - so much so that the nation state has become less impervious. As human rights ( not just a Western concept or as defined by the Western world but incorporating Eastern or Asian values as well) become universal , there will be much less conflicts and misunderstandings between nations and peoples. But alas, with so much inequality,injustices and abject poverty in the underdeveloped world, where sufficient resources are lacking, their right to adequate food,a roof over their head,basic education and healthcare are their paramount human rights... Sorry, I digress too much.
Back to China, as their coaches are allowed to leave to offer their services to other nations, I think,whatever advanced scientific techniques and methods will be an open secret, esp in other developed advanced nations where their sport science is in no way inferior - I believe, this factor will count for little despite LYB claiming China's superiority in this aspect (he must have something else up his sleeve).
06-07-2012, 03:47 AM #5
OK,to narrow the scope,I'd ask a very specific question: After Lin Dan's retirement, assuming Chen Long is their undisputed no.1, who do you think outside China can challenge him?
06-07-2012, 05:43 AM #6
06-07-2012, 05:55 AM #7
06-07-2012, 06:30 AM #8
I believe CHN has the largest badminton playing population, second could be INA, the rest I'm not sure. But it's not the quantity ,it's the quality that counts. To maintain quality, you need sufficient resources such as funds, good coaching and support staff - in this regard CHN has plenty, she is the fastest growing and 2nd largest economy in the world. I don't see this changing for the worse any time in the future, so this advantage will still be maintained.
On funding, whether from the government and/or private sponsors, the popularity of the sport is an important consideration. Badminton is popular in CHN, so attracting sponsors shouldn't be a problem. This strong point should stand CHN in good stead well into the future.
JAP and KOR are advanced economies, funding shouldn't be a problem. The popularity of the sport is not as high as in CHN,however. In INA and MAS, two badminton crazy nations, perhaps due to declining standard and waning status, sponsors may become less generous (I don't know,just a guess), forcing government to play a bigger role, not always reliable, at least not when organizing major international tournaments that offer big prize money. That's why it's vital for these two traditional powerhouses to start producing champions or the downward spiral may continue to worsen. Meanwhile,the Axiata Cup helps but it's confined to SEA nations, maybe still good enough to keep things going.
In conclusion, in this two aspects, funding and popularity, CHN will continue to have the edge over others for quite a long while.
06-07-2012, 10:12 AM #9
with more quantities, i think their chance to find some qualities is pretty good.
but, hey! the rest of the world finally catch-up, that's what you guys hope for, isn't it?
06-07-2012, 10:42 AM #10
The world is a numbers game.
06-07-2012, 10:50 AM #11
Yes,quantity up to a certain point translates or transforms into quality, just as water when you increases the heat to 100 degrees Celsius becomes steam, conversely, when you decreases it to 0 deg C turns into ice.
06-07-2012, 11:40 AM #12
Problem is the 2 past baddy powers (MAS/INA) and the rest of world are lagging even further behind CHN in finding and developing emerging world class players.
Baddy and paddy are 2 sports that CHN richly funds, the players are treated like celebrity and with CHN huge playing population, emerging players will come out.
If because of rising affluence and parents pushing their kids to go academic and not sport, that may be true for developed countries with no or limited govt support, where pro sport is still risky and fleeting venture. CHN has 1.3B population, and the annual average wage is still low and not all jobs are highly paid. So to find young talents willing to venture into sports with the allure of seeing what LD has been rewarded for effort will continue to keep attracting new recruits.
Cobalt is looking at the current players, who knows what other players CHN has? Example, from nowhere along came Han Li and gave the rest of the world headache. Where is Jing Jing (won a few tourneys and vaporized, never heared of again)? MJ is a great WD player and in CHN, her services is not required. WSX/LXR, one of them is out of OLY while ranked WR 3/4. CHN depth is enviable and scary.
I would concur CHN achilles heel is in MD. The other disciplines are fine and still young, and future is well stocked. CHN has a proven coaching and scouting staff, I believe the opposite is true that CHN will continue to dominate after LD expire. As long as baddy is in OLY programme and CHN needs all the gold, silver and bronze medals to up her medal count, CHN baddy will be well funded and on CHN highest priority.
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06-07-2012, 11:56 AM #13
Perhaps cobalt's question is premature, with CHN presently viewed as too dominant so much so she has quite a bit of leeway but he's looking at 2 to 3 years down the road. Even so,in CHN where Gopichand once said is able to produce a world beater at the drop of a hat, say almost every year, 2 or 3 years is a long time unlike other countries which produce at most one champion material in 4 or 5 years.
06-07-2012, 12:19 PM #14
Yes, CHN is a big country with a huge population and uneven economic development between her coastal region and inland, so for the next decade she will still have more than enough in terms of quantity and quality of badminton players. CHN will continue to be no.1 without having to win every major title in every category. At the moment,her golden era is showing no sign of waning - in MS, Lin Dan probably will be around for another 2 years at least during which time another prodigy may arise at least as good as or better than Chen Long.
Golden era need not mean total domination, simply continued position at the top, generally speaking. MD and, to a lesser extent, XD appeared to be their weak links at this time but I'm sure they are working on it.
06-07-2012, 12:52 PM #15
CHN MD is not really a weak link now, IMO, among favorite to OLY gold, right up there with the best of the rest. CHN 2 XDs, still the top 4 pairs in the world. Any weak link in future is offset by the fact the rest of the world is not doing that great either. After Lilyana (INA), Pedesen (DEN, she is not a spring chicken either) are done, what's INA and DEN has in XD. KOR, maybe. MAS habis. Well that is the top 5 baddy playing nations, the landscape is not that great looking.
I still say with CHN targeting baddy as mdeal haul in OLY games, CHN baddy will continue to have top funding and attention, and follow the route of table tennis where CHN dominates.
06-07-2012, 12:59 PM #16
06-07-2012, 05:16 PM #17
Another reason China dominated is their coaching staff. They were able to find ways to help the players to win. I bet 90% people will say LCW is better than CL. But somehow CL can find a way to beat LCW from time to time. No long ago, Fisher/Pedersen and Ahmad/Natsir dominated ZN/ZYL and XC/MJ. Now it's the other way around. It's just the other nations not able to produce the same quality of coaching staff as China.
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