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World Championships: Badminton An Alien Sport In US

Selasa, 16 Agustus 2005 08:16:59
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From Jaiarajo Letchumanan

ANAHEIM (California), Aug 15 (Bernama) -- The Americans are simply an ignorant lot when it comes to badminton.

From the time I landed at the Los Angeles International Airport in California on Saturday, my attempts to gather information on the World Badminton Championships held at the Arrowhead Ponds in Anaheim, California, from Aug 15-21, were futile.

Since there were no special counters set up at the airport to guide or provide information to the players, officials, fans or the media, I proceeded to the information counter but was told they were not aware of such an event.

What championships you say was the immediate question from across the counter.

Worst still, an airport tourist guide, who attends to those in need of specific information, when approached and asked of the World Badminton Championships, looked at me astonishingly and asked whether it was a world baptism meeting.

Such is the humiliation suffered by one of the most prestigious championships in badminton when hosted in a country where baseball, basketball, ice hockey and golf hit the headlines of local dailies everyday.

While efforts by the International Badminton Federation (IBF) to promote the sport in the US can be regarded as noble, the local print and electronic media were giving scent reception to such a prestigious event.

The IBF has a serious situation in hand, at least in achieving their objectives.

The pertinent question here is whether the promotion campaign was effective or not.

Except for a welcome board to IBF World Championships inside the Anaheim Marriott Hotel, which is actually the official hotel for the players, officials and media, there were no banners or bunting visible to inform the public of the championships.

As the host, the US Badminton Association should have been more aggressive in the promotion campaigns as it will defeat the whole purpose of becoming the host if they are not able to fill the terraces.

Furthermore, participation in the championships by major badminton-playing nations, which come from Asia, are certain to suffer the only US dollars pinch through the extra expenses incurred by the IBF's decision to host the championships here.

Everybody knows the Discovery shuttle just returned to earth last week but for shuttlecocks to continue flying, the IBF need to discover the right destination.

(source: Bernama)

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