Badminton Life

Badminton All England 2010: Danish fans in perfect view as China's Lin Dan progresses

To the first-timer it must be perplexing. Five badminton courts lined up in a row at the National Indoor Arena and a procession of matches from singles to mixed doubles starting at 10 o'clock in the morning and lasting close to midnight.

It's a wonder how players and officials are found backstage as matches finish and the stalwart PA announces their entrance. All the while fellow shuttlers continued their business on the adjacent courts. But then again the All England has been doing it for years like this.

And there's no getting caught in the outside court crowds like SW19. Plonk yourself down with a hamper and survey the five courts from close-up, as well as the nutty Danish fans - located at court three, right in the middle - in the stands. Then sift your way through the best match-ups and the potential one-siders. This is possible with the Blue Pages, sold for ¡ê1, a toned-down souvenir draw programme, if you like, and the bible for the week.

The draw has plenty of Chinese, Malaysians and Indonesians - a sign of where the current dominance lies within the sport. But it also includes a wealth of European names, not discounting Matthieu Lo Ying Ping, the French competitor, who took on England No 1 Rajiv Ouseph in the first round. But it gets easier as the rounds progress until there is just one court left come finals day on Sunday.

The big names came and went back to their hotels in a flash on day one. But not all left happy. World No 1 Lee Chong Wei eased into the second round with a 21-15, 21-16 victory over unseeded Indian Chetan Anand in just 24 minutes. Chief rival to the Malaysian's quest for the title, Lin Dan, also got his season off to a winning start when he beat Christian Lind Thomsen in 40 minutes.

However there was an early scare for former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat before the Indonesian edged out Hong Kong's Hu Yun 17-21, 21-11, 21-12. The match included some tantrum-like antics in the decider. After one Hu smash was adjudged in, Taufik responded in anger believing the opposite. He eyed-up the line judge, walked in disbelieving circles and complained to the umpire. No overrule.

The biggest upset came mid-afternoon when Koo Kean Keat and Tan Boon Heong, Malaysia's top seeds, looked like they really would rather be back on the celebrated beaches back home. But then again they were up against Denmark's former world champions Lars Paaske and Jonas Rasmussen, who looked utterly convincing during their comfortable 21-13, 21-11 win. The pair duly gave the 20-strong Danish contingent a wave from court one.

Last week, Telegraph Sport revealed that the All England Championships is under threat of missing out on top-level status when the Super Series is revamped next year. On this evidence it is hard to see why. It is the one they all want to win.

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