Some of the top Badminton stars across the world have been a part of the promotion of a new concept of the game – Airbadminton. Paving a career for retired professionals, this new form of the sport promises to be innovative and exciting. Also Read - Thailand Open 2021 Results: Sameer Verma, Mixed Doubles Pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Ashwini Ponnappa Advance Into Quarterfinals
In India, outdoor badminton is one of the favourite recreational sports and at times, there arises the obstacle of wind and other factors which make it difficult to pursue badminton properly. However, from a commercial point of view, the game has risen to great heights over the past five years with several local leagues being incepted. Also Read - Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth Enter Second Round
Airbadminton is similar to badminton in terms of gameplay and feel. What makes it different is that this new sport would have minimal impact from external factors like wind and humidity variations.
Renown Indian badminton stars like Saina Nehwal, HS Pranoy and Parupalli Kashyap have been a part of the promotion of the sport which was launched globally at Guangzhou last week by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) with new dimensions of the court and an innovative shuttlecock called Airshuttle.
“In India, we mostly get introduced to this sport as an outdoor game only. We played it with our parents and friends outside the house. This is a great initiative by BWF to bring it to the fore and promote it,” Saina told PTI.
“I’m sure it will encourage amateur sportspersons to participate more and game’s popularity will swell the world over.” HS Prannoy, a 2017 US Open champion, believes Airbadminton can provide an alternative career to the retired international and domestic players.
“Indoor badminton is much more physically demanding, so players after retiring can keep playing Airbadminton and keep having an alternative career.
“There is a lot of money in outdoor badminton. Especially in Kerela, I have seen players going to different places and playing every night and earning good money, so it is a great initiative,” he said.
Pranoy has memories of watching his father play outdoor badminton during his childhood.
“My dad used to play a lot of outdoor badminton. About 300-400 people would come to watch and it was fun as a kid to see such interest in the sport. The popularity of indoor badminton is less compared to outdoor because in villages, they only know about outdoor badminton,” he said.
“It was windy and it was extremely difficult to play but I think in conditions which are not too windy, it will be fun. It is a good experiment, said Kashyap, who played outdoor badminton at inter-school level.
“In small towns where there is no infrastructure, outdoor badminton will be more popular. But some sort of support from the association will be needed to make it popular, said Sai Praneeth, a 2017 Singapore Open Champion.
“It will take some time for people to take it up but it surely has the potential, you never know it can be a big thing in future,” he said.