Badminton Life



Old and Young, Tall and Short Compete for Olympic Honours

The Olympic badminton tournament at the Beijing Games will showcase an eclectic mix of big and small, tall and short, old and young.

This year's event has already set a record of 173 players from 50 teams competing in the five medal events - men's singles, women's singles, men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.

While China may be favourites for gold on the court, given home advantage and a powerful squad packed with depth in talent, there are less recognised players who have made a name for themselves of for other reasons.

For instance, the oldest men's player in Beijing will be Denmark's Jens Dyrloev Eriksen, according to Xinhua, at 38 years old and eight months.

Contrast that with the youngest male player, who is South Korea's Lee Yong-dae, who will be 20 on September 11.

The oldest female player is far removed from the traditional badminton powerhouses of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Denmark.

She is Michelle Edwards, who is representing Russia and was born on July 11, 1974. The youngest women's player is Mexican Deyanira Angulo, who turned 17 in March this year.

China and Indonesia have some giants at the net such as Lin Dan and Taufik Hidayat. But even they can't compete with New Zealand's Craig Cooper.

At 1.95 metres, he is the tallest player in the whole tournament. Next to him, Indonesia's doubles specialist Markis Kido looks like a child, being the shortest men's player at 1.65 metres.

The tallest female shuttle in the Beijing badminton competition is not surprisingly from Denmark, which has a history of churning out tall and powerful women players.

She is Kamilla Rytter, who is 1.83 metres tall. Russia's Edwards gets a double award because, apart from being the oldest woman, she is also the shortest at 1.55 metres.

But she is not the only one. She shares this height with Juliette Ah-Wan, who hails from the Seychelles.

While these factual nuggets make interesting reading, only Markis is considered to have a chance of winning a medal, which, at the end of the day, is the only statistic that really counts.












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