It’s a pity Australia is so small in the world of badminton. Some say Australia lacks the depth and range of talent and organisational framework to develop truly world class players. Others say a professional career in badminton is virtually impossible here since there’s no money in badminton.
Badminton is commonly seen as a hobby in Australia. Many of our top national players have trained in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and China where it’s a different mindset. From the club level to the elite level, when we compare the average standard there is a clear difference in technical ability, speed and endurance.
Who’s responsible for raising the bar? Is it the coaches, the players, Badminton Australia or some other institutional framework? I’m going to say it’s a collective effort. We need a framework to grow the badminton community. We need the right people willing to promote the interests of the sport. And we need investment for the long term.
The Li-Ning Sydney Badminton International is an annual BWF tournament which attracts players from around the world. Entry is free for spectators. Yet there’s so little advertising, few are aware it’s even on this week.
I must give credit to the Aussies but the international players have clearly trained to a higher level. Some of the reasons the Aussies didn’t perform well include injury and fitness. To come up against professional players, technical skills aren’t a problem, the main deciding factor is fitness. Those who play better are generally in better shape and are strong competitors on the day.
Hopefully some day the standard will improve in Australia. In sports like swimming and cycling we punch above our weight on the world stage. So the goal is achievable, and perhaps we can learn from those sports the formula for success.