- Badminton World Federation officially launched Airbadminton globally at Guangzhou last week
- Airbadminton can be played in various environments — on sands in beaches, on grass in parks, and the streets and bylanes
- Indian shuttlers feel it can boost badminton's popularity
Badminton World Federation officially launched Airbadminton globally at Guangzhou last week and India’s top shuttlers, Saina Nehwal included, have already started endorsing the sports’ newest format. They believe that the eye-catching has a huge potential to provide alternate career options to retired professionals. AirBadminton can be imagined as the outdoor variant of the traditional indoor sports. Outdoor badminton the second-most played sports in India.
Airbadminton can be played in various environments — on sands in beaches, on grass in parks, and the streets and bylanes. This means that the infrastructure would not be a hindrance for people interested in the sport.
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— BWF (@bwfmedia) May 14, 2019
However, with condition change when playing outside. As a result, BWF has made certain tweeks to the traditional game including new court dimensions and an innovative shuttlecock called Airshuttle.
With wind and humidity coming in to play, the shuttle has been modified to have a similar acoustics, trajectory, and feel as compared to that of a traditional indoor shuttle.
As a result, there would be minimal impact from side as well as the axial wind. The influence from the humidity variations would also be limited.
In fact, BWF claims that the Airshuttle can be used in competitions with winds up to 12 kilometers per hour. The global body is actively working with sports manufacturers to produce and rollout the innovative shuttle.
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Indian Stars Endorse Airbadminton
Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal believes Airbadminton has the capability to further promote the sport and take it to different corners of the world.
“In India, we mostly get introduced to this sport as an outdoor game only. We played it with our parents & friends outside the house. This is a great initiative by BWF to bring it to the fore & promote it,” the former world number 1 told PTI.
“I am sure it will encourage amateur sports persons to participate more & game’s popularity will swell world over,” she added
2017 US Open champion HS Prannoy has a belief that Airbadminton can be an alternative career option for the retired domestic and international players.
“There’s lot of money in Outdoor Badminton”
“Indoor badminton is much more physically demanding, so players after retiring can keep playing Airbadminton & keep having an alternative career.
“There’s a lot of money in outdoor badminton. Especially in Kerala, I’ve seen players going to different places & playing every night and earning good money. So it is a great initiative,” he added.
Pranoy also remembered how he used to watch his father play outdoor badminton in his childhood.
“My dad used to play a lot of outdoor badminton. About 300-400 people would come to watch & it was fun as a kid to see such interest in the sport. The popularity of indoor badminton is less compared to outdoor because in villages, they only know about outdoor badminton,” he said.
2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap fondly remembers his struggles in controlling the shuttle while playing in a promotional game against the backdrop of a snow-clad Mt. Titlis with compatriot B Sai Praneeth during the Swiss Open in March.
“It was windy & it was extremely difficult to play. But I think in conditions which aren’t too windy, it will be fun. It’s a good experiment,” he said. Kashyap has played outdoor badminton at an inter-school level.
“In small towns where there is no infrastructure, outdoor badminton will be more popular. But some sort of support from association will be needed to make it popular,” said 2017 Singapore Open Champion Sai Praneeth.
“It’ll take some time for people to take it up but it surely has the potential, you never know it can be a big thing in future.”