Editorial – My Badminton Christmas Wish List

When I was a kid (yeah, I know a loooooong time ago, please don’t remind me!), I used to put a Christmas wish list down on paper. A letter that […]
\"When I was a kid (yeah, I know a loooooong time ago, please don’t remind me!), I used to put a Christmas wish list down on paper. A letter that I would actually post in one of these big yellow mail boxes in the Parisian suburbs. All it did was probably make the mailman smile when he saw “FOR SANTA CLAUS”, in my big, scattered writing.

And here I am, in Kota Kinabalu, where I see some of the best players – and some of my good friends – try to steal the first ever gold medal for this prestigious event. But I thought, why don’t I make a wish list now? You never know. It might work! Some influential officials and all players might read it, and some of it may come true. Well, that’s being a little optimistic – even if I know for a fact that Badzine is well read amongst influent people and top players ;-). So, there you go. I know, I’m a spoiled brat by asking all this, and some of it may not please some people, but Christmas time doesn’t necessarily mean we have to be nice to everyone anyways. Right? Oh, one more thing, this is not in any specific order. And forgive my poor sense of humour (I am French, remember. Just be happy that I’m not on strike!)

So, for my Christmas, I’d like:

– A great company with well-paid employees to come up with a way to produce synthetic shuttles that are just as good as feathers. That will ease up on the poor animals (there goes for my friends at the WWF!) and make the market more accessible to players on tight budgets

More money involved in the sport. I’m talking mainly for the players, who struggle just like athletes in any other sport but who make 100 times less than, for instance, tennis players at the same skill level (I know, I know, that’s a huge wish)

No more match-fixing from China. This is really tiring to see that athletes who clearly don’t need this to win have to rely on team strategy to see who has to yield to whom, etc. This goes against the sport’s values and people are getting tired of it everywhere, including spectators who get no-shows, walkovers or fake play. Not the way to make the sport grow, really. Not to mention, a lack of respect to the players. The Chinese players are amazing. They don’t need any of this off-court cheating to shine. This is, to my sense, degrading and an insult to their talent. Anyways, long story, a whole debate, but you see my point.

More professionalism in the sport (another big wish)! You should see some of the players’ contracts with their own federations – when contracts actually exist. It’s nonsense. I feel like the players are merely afterthoughts whereas they should be the main focus.

A game with Lee Yong Dae, Taufik Hidayat and Peter Gade (amongst others). Yeah, that’d be neat. I’m terrible at playing badminton – less and less time to train – but I ‘d really like to have a game with these players – but first, I’d have to train hard with my favourite Korean physio 😉 in order to catch a shuttle or two.

More attention to media needs in the badminton world, especially photographers! We’ve been working hard to try to implement new rules and similar standards for media at badminton events. Until now, not a big success but the BWF has looked into the matter in its last council meeting and we’re hoping for the best for the upcoming year. You’d be surprised to see how tough it is, sometimes, to take good badminton photos – one of the hardest sport to shoot because of the low light and speed of the game – when you have to squeeze in between two TV cameras, and constantly bend on your knees on top of TV wires! A nightmare, especially when some referees and event organizers don’t give a damn about our working conditions and just want the set up to be as they wish, caring little about the thousands of people around the world who won’t see good photos of the game because of the restrictive setting. Well, as you see, this is a sensitive issue for me after following the tour for 10 years, and still getting the same arguments over and over when I travel. But hey, this wish may come true soon! I’m crossing my fingers.

More TV and live streaming. Wob.Tv has done a great job bringing the live Internet broadcast to most web viewers for the finals and semi-finals. I hope that it can be done for previous rounds as well. And that, soon, we’ll have a legal and cheap way to see all badminton matches. The Swiss Open and the Bitburger Open, in Germany, have, in the past, given the possibility for fans all over the world to see live matches on court with streaming, for free, without commentary. That’s the way to go. And frankly, nowadays, it’s more and more feasible. And while am at it, please, don’t steal the images to put it on the web. Piracy is probably the best enemy to badminton and wob.tv amongst other will never be able to offer you images if you are not willing to pay (not much, really), to have badminton images !

More Nations! I love to see players from unexpected countries participating in badminton events. It’s great to see that exchange of culture on the side court. The academies and BWF training centers are also great idea. We should try to develop that more all over the planet (now I sound like an NGO worker…hmm)

More viewers on Badzine. Yeah, I know, it’s pretty selfish, but given all the hard work that we all put in in our free time, it would be great to see Badzine get even more attention. We have a lot of viewers already, but we’ve gotten greedy. We need you to spread the word. With our live chats with top players now under-way, and new features coming up, we should get attention from the whole community, but we need more people to get involved into making Badzine the ultimate badminton website!

Well, that does it for this Christmas. That’s quite a long list anyways, and most of you have probably stopped reading half way through – If I’m lucky. For those who read the whole list I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Especially to those who have been helping me a lot with Badzine: Jan, Jeff, Don, Olivier, Mark, Howard, Gilles and all our local correspondents!

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.