The annual BWF World Championships is just hours away from kick off in Glasgow. Players have arrived, settled in and started practising in the beautiful Emirates Arena. Everything is now […]

The annual BWF is just hours away from kick off in Glasgow. Players have arrived, settled in and started practising in the beautiful Emirates Arena. Everything is now ready.

By Raphael Sachetat, live in Glasgow. Photos (live): Badmintonphoto

It’s all ready. The purple and pink carpets have been neatly been spread out in the huge hall of the Emirates Arena, just across from the Velodrome, in the outskirts of Glasgow. The usual mix of sunshine and heavy rain has welcomed the players to the Scottish city. The teams have also had a first hit in both the main hall and the adjacent practice hall of this top venue, with the usual smiles and laughs and relaxed atmosphere. Lee Chong Wei has discovered this hall as he had never been to either the Scottish Open or the Commonwealth Games, which were held here in 2014. Lin Dan, Chen Long and the rest of the Chinese team have also tested the shuttles since Saturday.

Bailie Norman Macleod (photo), city council member of Glasgow, welcomed the media as well with his strong voice and great sense of humour:  “We are the friendliest city in the world. If you get lost, do not panic. The nearest Glaswegian will not only tell you where to go, they will take you by the hand and show you around and take you to one of pastry shops and tell you about our history. Everyone here will enjoy this friendship. The legacy of this week of high quality competition will inspire and encourage many young people to take up the sport.”

Players are also looking forward to starting playing. Lin Dan (photo) mentioned once again his target lay beyond a sixth title: “Or course, I would be very happy to win a 6th World Championship title  but there is a lot of work to do so. As I said before, my target is now to help spread the word and make badminton more popular. When I was invited at the Laureus Award a few years back, I realized that badminton was still not very known so I hope this can change in the future.”

Lee Chong Wei, sitting by the Chinese star at the press conference, told the press that he was ready for the challenge: “This year will be tough as China has four players. I’m very happy to have Misbun Sidek by my side.

“This year I have nothing to lose. The draw is very tough for me – I’ll try my very best. Now, I don’t know whether this will be my last World Championships.”

Lin Dan, with a smile, then said right after him “Me too, I don’t know,” in English.

Carolina and Sindhu, friends off court, but ready for a battle on court

One of the questions put to Carolina Marin (photo) and Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (photo) was about the difference in relationship between themselves, on and off court.

“Off court, we are all pretty good friends but of course, when we get on court, it’s different. I focus very much on my game,” said Marin.

Sindhu acknowledged this fact: “It’s totally different when we’re stepping on court.  We face each other and have to play our best. But once the last shuttle has landed, we are friends again.”

The Spaniard seemed relaxed and told the press she was in good shape. “I feel like I’ve never been as well prepared as for this competition – even better than the World Championships. I can’t tell you exactly how I prepared as it remains a secret, but  my main goal is to fight for the gold medal. I don’t want to think about defending any title. I need to fight for a new one. I also want to enjoy.”

 “We’ve got enough time to practice before this competition.  I hope to do well – I definitely want to change the colour of the medals I’ve had in the past,” said Sindhu, who has already gotten two bronze medals at the World Championships.

All local eyes will be on Kirsty Gilmour, who’s had a great run for the past months.

“I live 15 minutes from here so it’s really special to have the World Championships here. Everyone is excited – even my friends are taking selfies in front of the posters. It will be really important for everyone to see it live, not only in TV. It’s a privilege to feel that pressure. I’ll use that pressure positive lately to do my best. I now have a new knee and it’s been great to work with a new coach in order to prepare for this,” said the Scot.

All results can be found here

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.