Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Text by Gayle Alleyne | BWF
This year’s TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2017 will have a golden glow.
Amid the spectacular backdrop of Australia’s Gold Coast, 32 teams will compete in badminton’s prestigious World Mixed Team Championships at the new Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre. The 21-28 May event will mark the first time in the tournament’s 25-year history that the Sudirman Cup is held outside of Asia or Europe.
“We’re delighted the Sudirman Cup will be played in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, right here on Queensland soil,” said Queensland Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Kate Jones, calling it “a major coup for the Gold Coast”.
She noted it will be “an exciting opportunity for the world’s best players to get a taste of Queensland” including incredible beaches, surfing, theme parks, shopping, nightlife and hinterland.
Gold Coast has already gotten the thumbs-up from recently-retired badminton icon, Zhao Yunlei, who enjoyed a promotional visit to the popular destination in November. The two-time Olympic champion and five-time World champion hailed it a beautiful location as she participated in activities to support the upcoming Sudirman Cup.
“I have fulfilled my dream of patting a dolphin,” declared the Chinese star, who also shared tips with young Australian players, Wendy Chen and Sawan Serasinghe, during a badminton session on Surfers Paradise Beach.
Both Chen and Serasinghe will represent the hosts in the Sudirman Cup and Chen, whose parents are Chinese and who speaks fluent Mandarin, is keen to show off the Gold Coast.
“The space and natural beauty we have here will stand out for visiting players. I think the beaches, attractions and native wildlife will be amazing for them to experience,” she said.
On the courts, China will be seeking to add to their staggering record of having won ten of the 14 Sudirman Cup tournaments. They are the defending champions having lifted the trophy on home turf in Dongguan in 2015. South Korea (three victories) and inaugural champions, Indonesia (one), are the only other winners.
Named after former player and Badminton Association of Indonesia (PBSI) founder, Dick Sudirman, the event features all five matches in the round-robin stage – both singles and the three doubles categories. In the knockout phase, a tie ends when a team wins three matches.