Badminton Life

Laos Finds Its Badminton Feet

Although there are many nations and cities that have a fine tradition of hosting badminton events, there can be a need to get more venues involved.

When Laos was chosen to host its first international badminton there was a lot of doubt over its suitability. There were a number of key reasons why many in the community had doubts over whether Laos would be able to host the event.

There was no history of even other Asian nations being invited to play in the country and there was a lack of accommodation for players and officials. There were also genuine concerns over the amount of untested badminton courts and facilities but in the end, these fears were unfounded.

The country had never been considered to be a major player in the badminton world but there was no doubt that Laos is now a name on the circuit. The Asian Future series was never going to be the biggest event of the year but for a new event, it was a very attractive and promising start.

The Badminton Asian Confederation (BAC) provided a lot of support and assistance for the event and this helped things go smoothly. There was a lack of officials and referees in the host nation so the BAC provided enough numbers to ensure the competition was adjudicated properly. It can only be hoped that as these tournaments increase the exposure of badminton in Laos that more people will be looking to get involved in the sport.

There is no doubt that the BAC are keen to progress the sport in its different countries because it can only strengthen the sport in general. Badminton is a massive sport in Asia but there is always motivation to make the sport larger in the region and if Laos can further the sport then the BAC should be keen to provide all the assistance it can.

The venue was a sell-out for all of the days and there were hundreds of people locked outside on match days. There was also live television coverage on local television channels of the first day's action with highlights throughout the tournament. This sort of exposure would have been otherwise unheard of in Laos and the justification to take the event there has been more than proved.

With a follow-up event called the Challenger set for 2009, there is hope that badminton can continue to flourish in the area and that the event is even bigger next year. With a prize fund of US $15,000 on offer, there is every chance that a better class of player will be looking to take part in the event.

For any sport to develop and grow there is a need to broaden the market available and to teach the sport to as many new people as possible. Given the high standards of many of the Asian badminton teams, it will be asking a lot for a local team to be challenging for honours soon but credit is due to the BAC for pushing the sport onwards.

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