Dr Sathya Menon (left), CEO of Beyond Boundaries, with Noura Al Jasmi, President of UAE Badminton Federation. Image Credit: A.K.S Satish/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE badminton federation has laid out an ambitious five-year road map to popularise the sport in the country and is targeting qualification for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games as the main goal, according to newly elected president Noura Hassan Al Jasmi.

Al Jasmi, in an exclusive chat with Gulf News, feels the Badminton Asia Championship, to be held in UAE for the next five years, will catapult the sport to greater heights and wants to ride on the crest of the wave that the event will create.

“Badminton is one of the most popular sports in Asia, with a fan base of 82 per cent. The Asia championship will change the landscape of UAE badminton. We aim to bring the clubs together and build a momentum towards the showpiece to be held in February and April,” Al Jasmi said.

“Our vision is to inspire the generation to play badminton and produce an Olympic, Paralympic and Special Olympic champions.”

Sporting hub

With UAE and Dubai becoming the sporting hub of the world, the Asia Championship will add another feather to its illustrious crown when the city hosts the team event in February and the individual event in April. Badminton, which could be practised by almost everyone as a leisure sport to a professional level, is very cost effective and fun to play.

Al Jasmi also highlighted a five-year programme that will involve various segments of society, that also includes bringing in more nationals into the sport by conducting a schools tournament for UAE children, and also creating several opportunities to the expatriate community.

“With full government support, our vision is to inspire the generation to play badminton and produce an Olympic, Paralympic and Special Olympic champions. The programmes focus in the five-year plan are: Special Olympics, Shuttle Time, women’s competitions, Para competitions and UAE national teams,” Al Jasmi added.

In order to achieve their goals, the UAE Badminton Federation held a workshop to discuss ways to help the federation and its stakeholders to work together; discuss the federations services such as a player participation, coaches’ development etc.

The outcomes of the workshop will further be implemented in the organisation’s structure through a road map.

Beyond Boundaries, a management company, has signed a five-year deal with Badminton Asia to bring the Badminton Asia Championships, formerly Asian Badminton Championships, to the UAE for the first time.

The tournament has been held annually in various cities every year since 1991, with the only break coming in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. Several top players compete for the individual and team championships with ranking points on offer in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) 1000 tournament.

The continental federation, in the presence of 43 Asian countries, signed the five-year deal recently to bring the event to Dubai and Dr Sathya Menon, CEO of Beyond Boundaries, said all the countries that took part in the AGM in Malaysia are super excited to come to Dubai, that has put a huge responsibility on our shoulders.

“We have promised the Arabian hospitality in Dubai, and we have live up to that and there a lot of logistical challenges,” Dr Sathya Menon said.

According to Dr Sathya Menon, badminton has a fan base of 785 million in Asia.

Small percentage

“So we are expecting lots of fans to come Dubai. Even a small percentage of global fans come over here, then it is going to be a very big number. We are working very closely with the federation, ministry and the Dubai Sports Council to make it a grand success,” Dr Sathya Menon added.

Anton Subowo, Badminton Asia chief, is excited to host the event in a new venue. Manila hosted the 2022 championships in April with Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia and Wang Zhiyi of China winning the men’s and women’s singles titles, while Indonesia’s Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Rambitan bagging the men’s doubles gold. Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan of China clinched the women’s doubles title, while the Chinese pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong claimed the mixed doubles gold.

“Badminton is one of the most-popular sports with an all-time high participation and fan base. It will be exciting to host the Badminton Asia Championships in a new arena.” For the record, 12 of the top 15 in the latest BWF men’s and women’s rankings are from Asia.

Players playing badminton in Metaverse. Image Credit: A.K.S Satish / Gulf News
UAE Badminton Federation in Metaverse
The UAE Badminton Federation is ready for the future after becoming the first sports federation to have their presence in Metaverse.
With the shift happening from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0 through blockchain technology, the value of the Metaverse market promises to globally vary between $10 trillion and $30 trillion within 15 years and Dubai aims to become a pioneer in the developments of this technology.
Noura Al Jasmi, President of UAE Badminton Federation said: “We are proud to be the first Sports Federation in UAE to take initiative on building our presence in the Metaverse, through a joint Collaboration with Metasportech, a DMCC registered company based out of Dubai. Together, we will be building a truly immersive experience for badminton fans in UAE and across the globe that will involve elements like gamification, training, mixed reality experiences, NFT trading, players, fans and celebrity interactions and virtual matches.”
CEO of Metasportech, Dr. Sathya Menon said: “The possibilities in the Metaverse are massive and badminton being one of the most played sports in the world, has tremendous potential. The rulers of UAE have the vision for the region to become Global leaders in the Metaspace and we at Metasportech are happy to support and contribute along with UAE Badminton Federation.”
— Staff Report