Badminton Life

Portuguese Men and Women of War

The rise in popularity of badminton is countries which were previously not renowned for being massive badminton countries is indicative of the growing demand for the sport and the Portuguese International event is the latest to showcase a surge in local talent.

However, one thing the players at the Beijing Olympics are unlikely to complain about is the venue.

The Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium has been hailed by many players as the best-ever Olympic badminton venue.

This was their verdict after training at the arena, which has a seating capacity of 7,500 and is the only Olympic venue located in Beijing's southeastern area.

Denmark's Jens Eriksen is taking part in his fourth Olympic Games and rates the Beijing venue as his number one, according to a Xinhua report.

"It's the best badminton hall I have ever seen. Much better than the previous ones," said Eriksen, who is the most experience badminton player at the Games.

Organisers of the Games' badminton event has installed state-of-the-art ventilation and air-conditioning systems, which aims to control air drafts.

In addition, the lighting has been adjusted to allow players to focus on the shuttlecock. Air drafts and lighting are the two major factors that could have an effect on a player during a match.

Malaysian Lee Chong Wei and American Howard were both very happy with the lighting and air-conditioning.

Bach said: "It is very satisfactory because there is no air draft."

Engineers have worked hard to ensure the best possible venue, offering players with comfort and good playing conditions.

A host of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient installations are being used, including rainwater recycling, ground-source heating during the winter time and water-source heat pump for staying cool during the hot summers.

The badminton tournament starts just one day after the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, which is on Friday, August 8. The competition lasts until August 17.

Organisers are also hoping that the fans pack the stadium for the whole tournament to support the players.

Badminton, unlike tennis where spectators must be quiet during rallies, encourages fans to support and shout while the players are battling each other on the court.

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