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Badminton’s big event is taking over the Gold Coast

This year’s Sudirman Cup is expected to draw a whopping 500 million TV viewers around the world. Isn’t it time you discovered what all the fuss is about?


By Dan F Stapleton
Published: 26 May, 2017 

You may be surprised to learn that badminton is the world’s second most popular sport (just behind football, also known as soccer). But learn a little about the game, and its enormous fan base soon makes perfect sense. It’s an easy sport for people of all abilities to enjoy: less strenuous than tennis, and with a greater emphasis on precision than strength.

The game in its current form developed in India in the 1800s, and remains hugely popular there, but it has also become a cultural sensation in China, Indonesia and Scandinavia. Australia has a burgeoning badminton scene, too – and this week we're excited to be hosting the Sudirman Cup, which is taking place on the Gold Coast.  With an emphasis on doubles games and national teams, it’s considered the most fun of the major global badminton competitions. Here are five great reasons to check it out this weekend.

IT’S BEING HELD IN A FLASH NEW STADIUM

Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, Queensland

This year’s Sudirman Cup is the first major event to be held at the gleaming, AUD$100 million Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, which has been built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The centre has two main competition halls and a regal vibe, with gold-flecked tiles, timber panelling and bright yellow ceilings. Be among the first to check it out as the Sudirman Cup takes over this week.


PLAYERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE DETERMINED TO BEAT CHINA

Top Chinese badminton player, Zhao Yunlei, Gold Coast, Sudirman Cup, Queensland

Professional athletes love a challenge, and they’ll be lining up at this year’s Sudirman Cup in an attempt to unseat reigning champs, China. Since the biennial competition launched in 1989, China have been victorious on all but four occasions, and were last beaten in 2003 by Korea. Expect the 2015 runners-up, Japan, to be particularly competitive this year, and keep an eye on Denmark, runners-up in 2011. 


THOUSANDS OF FANS WILL FILL THE AIR WITH CHANTS AND DRAMA

Badminton fans are a special breed, and they’ve flown in from all over the world to cheer on their favourite players at the cup. Unlike some sports fans, badminton lovers are a peaceful bunch. Expect fancy dress, fans singing songs written for their idols, big signs and a festive atmosphere.


500 MILLION VIEWERS CAN’T BE WRONG

Sudirman Cup, Gold Coast, Queensland

What makes badminton such an enjoyable spectator sport? Some say it’s the pace of the game: compared to tennis, badminton is rapid-fire and full of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brilliance. Others talk about the intricate player strategies and unexpected twists and turns. The Sudirman Cup is particularly fun to watch, because all the games are doubles matches, which adds another dimension to what is already a thoroughly enjoyable spectacle.


IT’S A HUGE WEEKEND ON THE GOLD COAST

Links Hope Island Golf Club, Gold Coast, Queensland

The biggest problem you’ll have on the Gold Coast this weekend is figuring out how to fit everything in. As well as the climactic rounds of the Sudirman Cup, there’s the enormous Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, which is expected to draw 40,000 visitors; Arias on the Green, a celebration of opera, romance and fireworks at picturesque Links Hope Island Golf Club; and the Gold Coast Regional Botanic Gardens Open Day, at which you can learn about Australian flora through demonstrations and guided walks. It’s all happening.