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Young Fans Bowl Stars Over

What does a badminton player do when she isn’t playing or training? 

It was a question that sought a glimpse into the life of a professional badminton player. The most innocuous questions can be the hardest, and that question – asked by a young fan at today’s draw ceremony for the Dubai World Superseries Finals – prompted some head-scratching among those it was directed at.

“I’m training most of the time,” replied two-time World champion Carolina Marin. “I try to relax when I’m not playing, because I have to be ready for the next session.”

Her close rival Saina Nehwal revealed that she loved being on TV and attending endorsement and entertainment functions when she had the time, while Korea’s Yoo Yeon Seong said he enjoyed travelling and eating out.

Fielding a question on the toughest matches they’d faced, Chen Long stated that it was the BWF World Championships final last year, while Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen (BWF home page) rued her loss in the semi-finals of the London Olympics.

Nehwal stated that her Commonwealth Games victory at home stood out in her memory.

“The stadium was packed and I was match point down to Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia. Luckily, the shuttle fell on the line and I saved the second game and won the third,” recalled the Indian.

The light-hearted banter followed the draw ceremony for the year’s last major event, which will draw the curtains on a spectacular Superseries season, which will reopen only in March next year with the Yonex All England.

Earlier, BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer welcomed the gathering, which included HE Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council and Khalid Al Serkal of sponsors Emirates Airline.

“This is the annual showpiece to crown the world’s best players,” said Høyer. “We’re pleased to have the world’s best players here.”

Høyer said BWF’s partnership with Dubai Sports Council and Falcon and Associates had laid the groundwork for badminton to grow in Dubai and its neighbourhood. Shuttle Time Dubai in particular had given much cause for optimism, Høyer added.

Welcoming players and other guests to Dubai, HE Hareb said he was impressed by the strides badminton had taken in Dubai over the last year.

“We have seen the capability of Hamdan Sports Complex to host badminton and other major sports events. We have a responsibility to create a sporting legacy. We are seeing more and more young people getting into badminton through Shuttle Time. We had a good summer camp for three months and I noticed that the children were accompanied by their parents. Sports cannot be pursued without family. Badminton is a family sport.”


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