Dubai: The Badminton Asia Mixed Team Championships and the presence of star players is set to raise the profile of the game in UAE and West Asia, feels top Asian official Moosa Nashid.
“Badminton in UAE is very popular and we see plenty of interest and involvement among the players. Badminton’s growth in this country is going to be immense and the UAE Badminton Federation (UBF) is doing a great job. Badminton will be capturing this region and the world as well,” Secretary General of Badminton Asia told Gulf News after overseeing the preparations for the continental showpiece, which will see the top 19 countries taking part in the mixed event.
“Being an Olympic sport, we always wanted to secure Asian positions for the Olympic players and make sure our quota is well kept. Since 2019-20, due to Covid, we were struggling to get that kind of mileage for our players and wondering where the next big tournament will be be hosted? We are fortunate to move this most-anticipated, high-rankeing championship in Asia like the mixed team event to West Asia,” Moosa said, heaping praise on UAE’s role in playing a crucial role for the Asian countries and players. The Badminton Asia Individual Championships will be held from April 25-30.
Teams from China, Japan, India and Korea are expected to participate among the 19 nations confirmed for the February 14-19 championship to be held at Expo City Dubai Exhibition Centre. While India have announced their squad, the final entries and names among the confirmed countries is expected to be released in the next couple of days.
“Asia is the power house of the world and top players will be competing in the tournament. All top Asian countries will be represented. India, China, Japan and Korea and all the top counties from Asia will be present. World champions PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy are coming and that will underline the level of the competition,” the official added.
Dr Sathya Menon, whose company Beyond Boundaries has secured the five-year rights for hosting the Badminton Asia Championships, says there is no better place than Dubai to host the event with its connectivity and the immense support of government organisations.
“We have been in talks for over a year to bring this event here. UAE and Dubai are the sports capital of the world and it is a right fit to bring badminton, the second-most popular sport in the world, to this country,” Dr Sathya said, and elaborated on the preparations for the mixed team event. “Expo City Dubai Exhibition Centre is getting ready for the showpiece. Stadiums are being built with a seating capacity of 4,000 spectators. Expecting a sell-out crowd all the six days and the tickets will go live on Platinum List soon. Expecting a sell-out crowd. Everything is very easy here with the support of Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Tourism,” he added.
In a boost to the sport in the region, which has 14 members among a total of 49 countries in Asia, the Badminton Asia Championship will help West Asia to take the game to the next level, Moosa feels.
“We look forward to see the top countries competing for world ranking points and at the same time better their positions. It will be an important event to kick-start for the top-level Asian players and the entry point for the regional players, who have been in our development segment. It creates a lot of new participants from West Asia, who are going to be competing in the championships. West Asia is the most competent in terms of development at this given point in time,” Moosa concluded.