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Thread: Badminton is No.3 in England
02-23-2009, 08:15 PM #1
Badminton is No.3 in England
Despite the attacks on sports facilities, as highlighted by Telegraph Sport's campaign, squash is still a thriving sport in the UK.
By Rod Gilmour
Last Updated: 9:25AM GMT 23 Feb 2009
According to Sport England, the agency that funds grass-roots sport, squash is the fifth most popular “organised sport” in the UK. Its Active People Survey reveals that nearly 500,000 people play regularly and stands only behind football (2.9m), golf (1.5m), badminton (0.9m) and tennis (0.8m).
Squash has been included in the Commonwealth Games since 1998 and England picked up five medals (including two golds) at the 2006 Melbourne Games. With medals in singles, doubles and mixed doubles on offer, it is likely that England will increase that tally in Delhi next year thanks to its healthy status of players near the top of the world rankings. On a national level, the British National Championships, which were held last week at Sportcity in Manchester, saw a record 390 entrants.
So far so good. But these positive statistics are clouded by the fact that hundreds of indoor sport facilities face closure over housing developments unless the Government sits up and takes notice of the alarming decline. Sport England’s survey is also contradicted by its own Active Places website which fails to mention a single squash court in England.
Despite this, England men have five players in the world top 20 and six in the women’s world rankings and many of these top players still train at their local facilities. But if the current trend continues then future players could find themselves fighting for medals rather than finding success in spite of, not because of the system.
Squash received a boost in January when Sport England’s £480 million grass roots investment saw funding for 2009-13 total £12.6 million - an increase of around 25 per cent from four years ago.
Nick Rider, England Squash & Racketball chief executive, said he was “pretty happy” with the figure despite the national governing body asking for more in its submission.
The investment is likely to yield significant results over the next four years. Of the 5,000 courts in England, 40 per cent are owned by local authorities, which, according to England Squash, is a figure that can’t be ignored.
With the majority owned by private managements and many leisure facilities seeing casual users pay and play, England Squash are in talks with a major operator, who own 40 centres nationwide, over a joint marketing initiative to boost the public’s perception of the sport.
Further up the scale and Oct 2 signifies an important date for squash when the International Olympic Committee assembly meets in Copenhagen to decide which two sports will be given the remaining spots for the 2016 Games.
Squash narrowly failed to be included for the 2012 Games by virtue of the IOC's controversial two-thirds majority decision three years ago in Singapore - despite being voted the number one sport. However, under a new rule, it will take a simple majority vote for a sport to be voted onto the Olympic programme.
Jahangir Khan, six-time world champion and former World Squash Federation president, said: "It has been too long. We cover all the Olympic criteria and we deserve to be on the programme."
Unlike other Olympic sports, Khan added that he could “guarantee that all top 32 players would play in the Olympics."
02-23-2009, 09:26 PM #2
Squash narrowly failed to be included for the 2012 Games
Surprisingly with their English weather, 3 sports are outdoor, 2 indoor.
Even though Jahangir Khan can guarantee that all top 32 players would play in the Olympics, he has to admit that only a few nations are represented by them. Hence, Squash narrowly failed to be included for the 2012 Games by virtue of the IOC's controversial two-thirds majority decision.
If Squash is excluded from the OG, then our Badminton could follow next.
02-23-2009, 11:54 PM #3
Are we using the right thread here?
02-24-2009, 12:14 AM #4
There must be some here who also play both squash and tennis.
I doubt badminton will fall in the way of squash in the Olympics, though.
02-24-2009, 12:24 AM #5
Let the crowd in Ae prove it.
02-24-2009, 12:51 AM #6
02-24-2009, 12:58 AM #7
02-24-2009, 02:01 AM #8
I think mention has been made quite often that badminton is more popular than tennis worldwide in that more people play badminton. In fact as a game, badminton has often been cited as only second after soccer in popularity, excluding swimming, walking, etc, which are not considered as games.
But tennis is more popular as a spectator sport and brings in big bucks for players and others connected with it largely because of the way tennis is being promoted. This has been a big challenge to badminton and the question has always been asked whether badminton can overtake tennis as a lucrative sport. And BWF and the sponsors must be the key players holding the key to success.
02-24-2009, 08:12 AM #9
In England, Badminton is ranked 2nd as a participation sport
02-24-2009, 09:00 AM #10
Badminton in the UK is a popular participation sport. As a spectator sport I suspect it has a pretty poor ranking. At the recent European championships, I was one of only two people from my club who went.
With the rise of Asian economic power/consumerism, it would be interesting to see if more non-sport global brands sponsor the sport, as they do in tennis and golf. What is BWF doing to this end I wonder?
02-24-2009, 09:29 AM #11
What is BWF doing to this end?
klc28 ... Thank you for confirming from the UK.
Regarding to what BWF can do, BCers have suggested some ideas: click here
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