Well, I guess I’d better do the event justice and offer my perspective on the All England Badminton tournament.Having enjoyed the ‘taster’ experience of watching the quarter finals for the first time last year, Steve and I went one step better and went for 2 days to enjoy the semis as well. Having received daily updates on the knockout stages of the tournament from the three days of play beforehand, we knew that there was going to be some ‘explosive’ play at the quarter and semi finals of this year’s all England badminton champs.
The sport has been dominated by the far eastern elite, namely from China, Korea, Malaysia and Indonesia. However, with a Danish lass (Tine Rassmusen I think) winning the women’s singles, and needing to play at her best with courage and determination against the Chinese there is proof that no 1 is undefeatable. She is probably the only current female player in Europe who can now challenge the Chinese female group. She certainly deserves to be champion. It was also great to see the Koreans winning in both the men’s and women’s doubles finals.
Meeting up with Gerry on the Friday for the quarter finals gave the much need pre-information from the knockout stages to appreciate who we were left watching. The play didn’t finish until midnight, an hour and a half later than expected. Having said that the night was young and Steve and I on a natural badminton high rose to the challenge at righting the wrongs of the world, which was helped by a bit of indulgence in the local hotel, sampling a fair few whiskies. Peaty indeed! 😉
After limited sleep, we were up for a hearty traditional brekkie and away for the semis and were able to meet up with fellow club members Peter and Cray who’d traveled down on the day. One of the highlights for me had to be the dedication and enthusiasm of the fans. I think the Korean fans stole the show, what with their unlimited supply of banners and air stick thingys – not least because they were probably the loudest, but their chants and songs were almost singable. Sing along “Oooooooo, Kore-a, oooooooooooo, Kore-a, ooooooooooo, Kore-a, Korea, pilsung, Korea, oy oy oy” 🙂
So what have I learned?
There’s no denying that these athletes are an inspiration. They are rightly stars in their home nations, although I was very disappointed to realise that the top winning prize for the singles champion at the All England Champs is only something like 5k…and in doubles this is split between the two winning partners! Now if that ain’t “jippo” payment for being the best in the world at badminton then I don’t know what is!
One thing I’m certainly not going to try out for is being a line judge! It must be one of the most boring roles within the competition, although perhaps the “floor sweat sweeping boys and girls” may have a different opinion on that matter 🙂
For me, this has certainly been the social event of the year so far. Even for those who couldn’t attend or who may not enjoy badminton, there’s no way you’d not be able to admire the strength, power, speed, and skill of most of these elite players. The whole event was made even sweeter, as I was able to wangle my ticket for both days for free due to the kindness of Jun Zhang (Dean) and ex-Broomgrove member who was line judging. Saying that, everybody pretty much sat wherever they wanted anyway!
Of course it was also great to have my fellow Broomgrove buddies Steve, Cray, Peter and Gerry around at various points during our trip. It was great to have Steve there as somebody who has a keen eye for the shuttle, as well as providing humorous observation/commentary (particularly on some of the lesser female looking players 🙂
Defo will be planning to go again next year! Bring it on!