Bangkok was one of the cities named by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to host its major events for 2018 and 2019.
In a press release today following a BWF Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur, the world body announced that Bangkok would be hosting the 2018 Thomas and Uber Cup Finals. Bangkok did host the Thomas Cup Finals in 1976, but this will mark the first time for the Uber Cup and possibly the highest-profile badminton field to compete in the Southeast Asian nation, at least since the 1994 World Grand Prix Finals or the 1998 Asian Games.
The press release quotes Badminton Association of Thailand Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho (pictured above, right) as saying, “[Thailand has] a solid organising team, and we’re ready. Our goal is to make badminton the No.1 sport in Thailand.”
As Switzerland’s 2017 Grand Prix Gold event enters its semi-final stage, it was announced in KL that Basel would also be doing the honours as host of the 2019 BWF World Championships. Switzerland’s last experience with a BWF major event was the 1995 World Championships in Lausanne.
“It took a lot of time to work on our bid and present it. One of the important things is that our crew has worked for 27 years on the Swiss Open,” said Charles A Keller, Tournament Director of Switzerland’s flagship Grand Prix Gold event (which spent four years as part of the BWF Superseries), and bid committee member. “We’re used to doing big events such as the Swiss Open and the European Championships. It’s a lot of experience. We’re like a family and that’s wonderful.”
As a country, none match China in terms of hosting experience and two of the badminton superpower’s cities were unopposed for the remaining two events. In the last 15 years, China has already hosted the Worlds once, the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals three times, and the Sudirman Cup no fewer than four times.
The 2018 World Championships will be held in Nanjing. The Jiangsu Province capital has not hosted a major BWF event yet but it was the site of both the 2013 Asian Youth Games and the 2014 Youth Olympics. The neighbouring Jiangsu city of Changzhou has also been the venue for the annual China Masters since 2008.
China’s other host will be the similarly named Nanning. The Guangxi Province metropolis got the nod unopposed to perform hosting duties for the 2019 Sudirman Cup, the BWF’s world mixed team badminton championship event. In 2011, another Guangxi city, Liuzhou, hosted the season-ending Superseries Finals but 2019 will mark the return of the world’s badminton elite to the province.
“We received some high-quality bids and we have assessed what is best for badminton on various levels as we seek to elevate our sport globally,” BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer was quoted in the press release as saying.
“Our Major Events showcase the best of badminton, with all of our elite athletes competing. We are excited at the prospect of breaking new ground by going to cities that have not had the honour of hosting our Major Events before. This is significant for the development of our sport.”
DETAILS – VENUES FOR BWF MAJOR EVENTS 2018 AND 2019
TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2018
Host City: Bangkok, Thailand
Venue: Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani
Seating Capacity: 12,000
TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018
Host City: Nanjing, China
Venue: Nanjing Youth Olympic Park Indoor Arena
Seating Capacity: 20,000
TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019
Host City: Nanning, China
Venue: Guangxi Sports Centre Gymnasium
Seating Capacity: 8,700
TOTAL BWF World Championships 2019
Host City: Basel, Switzerland
Venue: St. Jakobshalle
Seating Capacity: 9,000