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Badminton Tops Popularity in England Survery

Although Wimbledon is the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, it is another racket sport that rules in England.

A recent survey by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University suggested that badminton is, in actual fact, the most popular racket sport in England.

Figures showed that more than four million people played badminton in 2007, representing 8.6 per cent of the population. Of that, 1.5 million of those people played the sport on a regular basis.

In addition, it was found that more than 500,000 children played badminton at least 10 times when not in school with 12 per cent of secondary students playing regularly.

The results were published in sportsbusiness.com, one of the leading web-based portals dedicated to news about the business side of sport.

Naturally, the results delighted Badminton England, which is the governing body for the sport in the country and is responsible for promoting badminton.

Its chief executive Adrian Christy was quoted as saying: "These figures reveal that badminton is a mass participation sport across England. We are bucking the trend, exhibiting strong growth across a variety of sectors and groups.

"Badminton is alive and kicking in England. This report provides proof that our game is growing as a sport for all, with our popularity to children building a large base of players from which we aim to produce future champions."

Previous surveys by Sport England and the Department of Culture also supported the view that badminton was the leading racket sport in the country, despite the global popularity of the Wimbledon tennis tournament and the money involved in tennis.

England have traditionally been one of the stronger badminton-playing countries in Europe behind Denmark.

Indeed Gail Emms and Nathan Robertonson won a silver medal in the Athens Olympic Games mixed doubles event four years ago and are bidding to at least emulate that achievement at next month's Beijing Olympics.

And although the majority of big-money badminton tournaments are in Asia, the All England Championships in Birmingham every year remains the most prestigious and tradition-rich national tournament in the world. It is, in fact, badminton's equivalent of Wimbledon.












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