The sporting goods business is donating a variety of items including badminton rackets, racket bags and tubes of shuttlecocks as prizes for children from three Nanjing sports schools who will be participating in promotional activities which the Badminton World Federation is hosting.
On the day after the Nanjing 2014 badminton finals, students will be taken through training sessions and then be paired with YOG competitors, the badminton Athlete Role Models (Cheng Wen Hsing of Chinese Taipei and Nathan Robertson of England) or the badminton Young Ambassadors (Shamim Bridget Bangi of Uganda and Monika Fašungová of Slovakia) for some fun matches. Prizes will be given to the winners.
Li-Ning will also outfit former Chinese badminton stars, Lu Lan (below) and Cheng Shu (above), for their autograph session and Question & Answer forum with the students. This will allow the latter, who are just starting in competitive badminton, to hear from veterans about the challenges of being a professional athlete and how to avoid various pitfalls.
BWF, in consultation with the local organising committee (NYOGOC), has planned these activities to bring local youth into close contact with YOG athletes, some of China’s badminton icons and to give them an opportunity to see the Youth Olympics badminton event. The students have been invited to tour the Nanjing Sports Institute – the venue for YOG 2014 – during the badminton competition (17-22 August 2014) at which time groups of them will be taken behind the scene and onto the field of play to observe badminton operations first-hand.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said the world-governing body is pleased to have Li-Ning – the equipment sponsor for badminton at Nanjing 2014 – on board in this venture.
“Li-Ning and the BWF have a long-term partnership through our Major Events but, where possible, it is good to collaborate on other initiatives. We are particularly glad to have Li-Ning partnering with us on this project in China, which is their home turf, and also because it’s dedicated to youth and attracting more young people to badminton,” he noted.
Director of Li-Ning’s Indoor Sports Business Unit, Li Zhujun, said: “This great opportunity would have never presented itself without BWF’s Sports Initiation Programme, which is central to the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games 2014 Cultural and Education plan (CEP) and (which is) also an important part of BWF’s constant efforts in promoting badminton among young people all over the world.
“Badminton is a sport that is widely-loved and played by young people around the globe. It is a sport that can benefit the young generation in terms of physical fitness, body harmony as well mental development. Li-Ning, as a leading sports brand in China, has been a partner and true friend of badminton development in and outside of China. We not only aim to provide best service for world top-notch badminton games but also actively support the dream of youth athletes as well as badminton enthusiasts.”