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04-09-2013, 02:16 AM #1
Badminton initiatives in China - a lesson to be learnt?
There are many direct and indirect initiatives that have sprung up in China over the past 15-25 years in respect to promoting and strengthening the country's position in certain games. It bears mentioning that gymnastics, middle-distance running, swimming and weightlifting are among the disciplines that appear to have been given more attention. This is apart from their traditional natural strengths in table-tennis and badminton.
Let's look at badminton. As late as last year itself, the outside observer would have been forgiven for believing that there was nothing else that the CBA and the Ministry handling pingpong/badminton could have done -or even needed to do- to maintain their virtual stranglehold on the game, at the highest levels. Many of us, myself included, believed that there was not much else that could be humanly done to further consolidate China's position, and that surely the slide must begin sometime in the near future.
Well, the recent tournaments sure shut me up! At all international tournaments this year, a slew of young tyros appeared from out of nowhere to either walk away with the final-day honours or at the very least, scare the daylights out of the frontrunners in the past 2-3 months. So much for worries about continuity...
But now, further developments are about to show us, and the rest of the world, just how serious and committed the CBA and it's parent ministry is about THE BUSINESS OF SPORT.
Yes. Business. And the biggest market for China, is China.
If the Chinese national association can demonstrate to it's citizens that badminton is the sport that earns China international laurels, and that the sport is synonymous with Chinese pride internationally, the citizens will sure as day follows night, flock to learn and play the game. And invest time, energy... and money.
Sales. Clubs. Leagues. Memberships. Promotions. Merchandizing. Marketing. Money. Wealth. Strength. Continuity.
Just as baseball is to the USA; winter hockey is to Canada; rugby is to NZ; cricket is to India; so it is for badminton to China, or soon will be.
The question needs to be asked: What about those other countries who were the erstwhile powerhouses?
There is an opportunity in our sport that is identified, and China is going about very methodically developing the opportunity. The rest of the world needs to wake up and learn, and adapt; and they need to do it yesterday, already!
So what do I see -or hope to see- in the future?
Once the business of badminton achieves critical mass and momentum, the Chinese decision-makers will have to look outwards to help develop competitive expertise and competitive markets - that will help the business to grow and diversify. They will have to forge partnerships and exchange talent and knowhow, to generate and maintain investor interest.
Hopefully then, our game can stop becoming an expression of parochial and nationalistic egoism, and finally mature as a truly international flavour.
And China would have played its part in shaping -and securing- the destiny of our game for further generations.
04-09-2013, 01:52 PM #2
Lund: Redbull China Tournament Great Example of Grassroots Development
Monday, April 01, 2013 - Text by Gayle Alleyne | Photo by Redbull China
Speaking at a recent Press conference in Beijing, BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund upheld Redbull China’s grassroots badminton tournament – in which 50,000 persons will compete – as the kind of initiative that synchronises with BWF’s developmental goals and “is again a testimony about the shared values between our organisations”.
“One of the key strategic goals for BWF is to further strengthen the development of grassroots badminton. Badminton can bring joy, unity and health to the many millions of badminton players. And at the same time this will allow us to find and help develop coming generations of badminton stars – who knows maybe the next Lin Dan or a young Li Xuerui,” he said, applauding the tournament concept.
04-09-2013, 06:07 PM #3
I fully agree your points stated above.
Another sudden though that came up to my mind was the talents of coaches (changing the flow of the game by making it hard for opponents).
An example of the All England 2013 MD champions, less known favorites Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan (CHN)Bothplayers are not especially young, but they were able to beat top 5 MD players / older experienced players out of the blue. (opponent coaches have less info.)(you likely to play a tougher game when playing against unknown players)
My point is that both players and coach are extremely important in badminton, Lucky China has such a big pool of professional players to pick from (province, company, pro-club teams).
Compare to other nation which has limited players to pick from making their tactic/strategy limited to change.
04-11-2013, 10:33 PM #4
A critical aspect of China's dominance of the sport is the continuing performance of the women in badminton ever since China's (re-)admission into the IBF. In truth, the women have had a greater stranglehold on the game than their male counterparts, and for all practical purposes, that continues even today.
Is this an anomaly in sport? Or is it just the result of careful foresight, planning and execution? Or has a change in attitudes and approach towards women inside China played a crucial part in their success in sports?
A seminal, and much-acclaimed work on this subject is contained in the book by Dong Jinxia, titled,
"Women, sport, and society in modern China : holding up more than half the sky"
This book is a must-read for anyone who wishes to seriously study the subject. Here is an excerpt from the Prologue....
"To this day, many questions pertaining to Chinese women and elite sport remain unanswered. For example, is China's success in sport merely chance---the result of an umplanned and unpremeditated combination of fortunate but unforseen circumstances; or a product of regularities of circumstance and intention that can be located by careful inquiry? If so, what factors have contributed to the success of Chinese women, once captive in the home and crippled with 'bound feet', in international sports competitions? Have performance-enhancing drugs played an important part? What dramatic changes have taken place in society, and women's lives in particular, in the 'New China'--the common expression for China, in China and elsewhere for the period from the Communist Revolution of 1949 to the present---that may have had an impact on elite sport? Some have certainly taken place. Furthermore, what impact will these changes have on the future of Chinese women's elite sport? To answser these difficult, interlocked and complicated questions, it is necessary to scrutinize the recent evolution of women's sport in the 'New China' since 1949, and the intertwined relationships between politics, economics, culture, society, women, and women's sports."
04-19-2013, 03:12 AM #5
Here is an article in USA Today, published just around the OG 2012 period. It offers more insights into the importance that the Chinese government has accorded to sports at the professional/elite level. Worth a read.
...Chinese are celebrating with joy but little surprise at the nation's renewed gold rush in London.
..."China's aircraft carrier Sun Yang," screamed the banner headline in Titan Sports, the nation's most popular sports paper, after the swimmer on Saturday became China's first-ever male winner in the pool.
...China's early success in London was expected, says Ren Hai, a professor at Beijing Sports University.
...The credit is easy to place, he says. About 70% of China's 40,000 full-time athletes graduated from specialized sports schools, Ren says.
The nationwide, state-run sports system is now larger than the Soviet Union model China copied in the 1950s, says Dong Jinxia, who researches sports, women and society at Peking University.
The Chinese government and public "give special support to elite sport, as it's considered a very important means to boost national identity, win glory for the nation, and boost China's confidence," Dong says. State funding rose significantly after Beijing won the right in 2001 to host the 2008 Games, she says.
While tennis players have wrestled more autonomy, most sports in China still operate under a highly centralized system. Unlike athletes in most other countries, who survive through sponsorship, part-time work and family support, China's athletes "live and train together, and the coaches are full time, so athletes don't need to worry about their lives, food, clothing, etc., at least when they are training," Dong says.
...Other changes he seeks include greater chances for universities and enterprises to develop sports teams, and more balanced funding to promote public participation in sport as strongly as the competitive, elite sports that currently enjoy the lion's share.
As obesity rises, especially among children, "China is still far from being a mass sports country," Ren says.
...The lack of grass-roots sports frustrates sports commentators like Huang Jianxiang, who blame the heavy hand of the state. The system ensures funding, and continued success, for non-mainstream, minority sports elites, but fails in basketball, volleyball and soccer, he complained Monday in his popular micro-blog.
...North Korean athletes, also enjoying a good start to the Olympics, have given a shout-out to the ruling Kim family in post-triumph thanks. Many Chinese, once obliged to praise Mao at every turn, now consider such actions abnormal. Huang posted an example of Korean victory quotes on his blog Monday, followed by over 5 million Chinese. "In fact, how we view North Korea is very likely the way other people are viewing us," he warned.
Licin liked this post
04-19-2013, 11:25 AM #6
05-13-2013, 02:45 AM #7
A recent event is generating a lot of interest and varied opinion online and in print. World and Olympic champion Lin Dan (away from the game for all practical purposes for almost 6 months) was awarded a wild card for the World Championships this year.
It has naturally created euphoria, resentment, and all shades of responses in between.
A quite popular line of thought is that this was possibly a result of pressure made to bear on the BWF by the major events sponsors, Li Ning and RedBull China, who also incidentally sponsor the China national team. RedBull China is also an important part of a grassroots initiative to promote badminton in China, while Li Ning's commitment to badminton at large and Asia in particular is evident in the sponsorships and partnerships it has formed.
In China, Lin Dan is considered to be a national hero of no small proportion, and his active presence at the WC would go some distance in maintaining a high profile of the sport in a country where a burgeoning middle class and upper class in large cities, want to spend big money to encourage and promote their children in every way.
In fact, it could possibly be the unease that his absence may send an ambiguous signal to the masses that these stakeholders may very much want to avoid.
If this is indeed the story-behind-the-story then it gives us an indication of how seriously these stakeholders along with the CBA, take the business of badminton in China. And of the business potential they anticipate.
Cheung liked this post
05-13-2013, 11:16 AM #8
05-13-2013, 02:29 PM #9
What I can perceive is that a very serious business opportunity has been addressed and that it remains to be seen how the decisions made by the stakeholders affect the events that unfold over the next significant period (2-4 years). While there are many other initiatives being taken in many other countries and regions, my feeling is that none will have as important an impact as what will transpire as a result of the actions being driven from China. That is what I have attempted to outline in my opening post.
Are they doing the right thing? Well, the answer to the subjective question (right and wrong is often subjective) depends on your preferred view of the roles the players have, and how well they execute their part. What is your opinion?
This thread was not created primarily for discussion about the LD wildcard issue. That is however, a thread within the larger tapestry that I am trying to address.
05-14-2013, 08:57 AM #10
Anything, china team already did their best to capitalized any slight chance left for them to achieve maximum result in WC, and they did it well with LD finally get the wildcard. still, LCW and another players of course still have their chances to became the 2013 world champion. it's now left to which player can give his best on the real battle field a.k.a court rather than biased predictions and arguments on internet forum.
05-14-2013, 12:54 PM #11
05-15-2013, 10:25 AM #12
I personally think BWF do the right thing (simply because i'm LD fan. can have a chance to see him in WC is better than none ) by 'inviting' the defending champion to compete. it's just that this defending champion can't satisfy every single person on earth.
Regarding the influence from sponsors, due to the latest posts in related thread, it seems that the wild card decision is purely coming from BWF. but just don't know what happen behind the screen. you think?
05-15-2013, 08:52 PM #13
I think it is important to point out the real reason for success in sport including badminton in China is their state system and questionable "breeding" of sports people. I state this because personally I think there is certainly a lot to be learned from all the initiatives, like what is being achieved with Red Bull but other countries can copy these initiatives all they like though it will still not bring them on a par with China.
The bottom line is that the top line of sportspeople in China all seem to have been whipped away at a very young age and reprogrammed for the specific sport using questionable techniques. I am not writing to disagree with it personally but I can say, if you were to talk to 99% of mothers in the western world "would you send your child away to endure this?" Their answer would be a firm "no".
I have talked with a coach who spent a small amount of time experiencing the training of kids badminton on an elite style program in China and what he tells me pretty much concurs with what you would have read at some point with regards to training methods.(nothing crazy just not child suitable to westerners)
Bearing this in mind, China has the numbers and questionable ethics with regards to the raising of elite sportspeople. Can other countries learn? Yes. Can other countries actually implement there system? no chance! Just won't happen. So the rest of the world are awake and have learned that this is no doubt the best way to create elite sportspeople but can they "adapt yesterday"? No, they have a different set of ethics making it impossible to convert.
Just whilst I am on this topic staying away from the rights or wrong of it all, it does irk me a bit to hear the ideology that China thinks it is projecting it's greatness to the world by creating these world beaters in sport. But the reality is they only achieve this by ethical costs that the western(rest of?) world won't buy into. So what are they actually projecting....
I can say they do the best job at achieving their goals, and China will continue to dominate in badminton and gradually whatever sports they want.
I also think it is mightily impressive when ROW players manage to take down Chinese opponents given what i have heard and read.
Last edited by craigandy; 05-15-2013 at 08:56 PM.
05-18-2013, 02:32 PM #14
the reason you are irk is not because of china trying to project greatness to the rest of the world but rather you guys just cant stand losing to the "chinaman" or the "chinaman" winning. an easy example is lin dan given a wild card and everyone else jumps in to say its unfair or bwf kowtowing to cba. no one whined when malaysia was given the same treatment in previous world championships.
also good way of trying to make yourself feel better that beating chinese is impressive consider u guys have like a century head start, and getting dominated at sports you once dominated. i guess the collapse of the soviet union makes you feel like no one will challenge western dominance and influence.
05-19-2013, 06:55 AM #15
Not sure why you mentioned cheating but since you are on the subject China are like the Bermuda triangle when it comes to walking over against themselves.
" i guess chinese culture of super hardworking is considered unethical"in the western narrative." Yes all things considered that is what i tell you. At adult level no, but at junior level that is what the mothers of the western world would think.
A head start can be over with in a generation if you have the numbers to choose from and the willing to train them harder so no point in talking about that.
It was going to be a massive mistake not letting LD in to the WC and I for one would love to see him win his 5th time.
06-08-2013, 01:00 AM #16
Here is another indication of how serious the stakeholders are in promoting the game in China at the moment. The energy they put out to discover and promote unusual and eyecatching angles to market the game is very interesting.
Monks "Belief" in Badminton an Inspirational Story
Friday, June 07, 2013 - Text by BWF
“Belief” is a powerful word and translating it into positive action can bring the best out of persons – even in the most challenging circumstances.
It is now the title of a Redbull China documentary focusing on badminton and featuring Lingyin Temple’s monks enjoying and even excelling at the sport.
...To improve their technical level, the temple has hired a professional coach who used train former national champion Fu Qiang and Cheng Gang. In April, Lingyin Temple Badminton Team participated in the ‘Yu Lin Ceremony’ 2013 Redbull City badminton games which is China’s largest and most powerful amateur badminton event with 30 provinces, 173 cities and almost 6000 teams participating. The tournament uses the mixed-group format, in the same vein as BWF’s Sudiman Cup. In their first appearance in major competition, Lingyin Temple Badminton Team shocked fans by beating Hangzhou Railway Station for the second runner-up prize, thereby qualifying for the Zhejiang finals.