Badminton in Doha
The best places to play badminton in Doha, Qatar 1 Comments
Watching the birdie is apparently harder than we were led to believe. Actually properly referred to as a ‘shuttlecock’, Badminton adherents claim it’s the fastest racquet sport, beating out squash and tennis. Although there is some debate about that, it’s been an Olympic sport since 1992.
It’s been popular in Qatar long before that.
‘Badminton is a great way of socializing with other people, it can be played for fun and can also be played to a competitive standard. It must be remembered that badminton is an indoor sport and in Qatar during the heat of the summer months that is a great way of exercising,’ says Mark Haddon, a member of the Qatar Badminton Association who’s competing in the tournament. ‘Badminton is played all around the world, some of the elite players are from China, Indonesia and Malaysia, however, players from Europe also compete at International level.’
He got started when he was only eight years old. He started competing in leagues when he was 14 before gradually backing away from the sport. He rediscovered it when he arrived in Qatar.
‘When I arrived in Qatar about two years ago I was looking for something to occupy my free time and was introduced to Qatar Badminton Club (QBC), so having not played seriously for about 15 years I picked up my racket and began to venture to QBC on a regular basis, which I also found was a great way to meet new people and get involved in the badminton community in Qatar.’
That’s what most people think of when they think Badminton: not a hard core sport, but rather a social activity, suitable for an afternoon in the backyard.
‘Why people perceive it as a game played with the kids in the backyard dismays me. Whilst it is fun in the summer to play in the garden it is best played indoors. Badminton is often frowned upon and almost considered a “joke sport” when compared to that of tennis any other professional sports. Badminton does not get the media coverage it deserves and as a result prize money is nowhere near that of other professional sports. To play at the highest level of the game though requires equally as much training and dedication,’ says Haddon. ‘Though it is an Olympic sport, unless it starts getting more high profile coverage, it will never reach the popularity of tennis, golf, etc. Qatar is bidding to host the 2020 Olympics, badminton will be an integral part of the games, hence the promotion of it in Qatar can only be beneficial for a successful bid.’
It’s also good for health, something Qatar has been keen to promote in recent years. Higher level badminton requires an intense level of speed and fitness, and playing at any level is a good workout.
‘It is a challenging sport which requires a lot of thought as it needs tactical awareness together with basic skills. It is a fast moving game and can be played both in singles and doubles formats, singles being more demanding on the individual as they have all the court to cover,’ says Haddon.
But, unlike some of it’s cousins, it’s an easy game to pick up, and players can enjoy their time, even at a lower level of play.
‘Badminton is not a hard sport. It does, however take a lot of practice to get to play at a decent level. It requires agility, strength, anticipation and hand eye co-ordination,’ says Haddon. ‘It’s fun! The most important thing to remember is to have fun, whilst doing so you are also exercising the body and mind.’
Haddon hopes the tournament this month will help people understand the sport he loves.
‘People should be looking for the high standard of competition that can be offered from the tournament. They should also look at the sportsmanship between all the competitors, there is varying standards but what should be remembered is that all participants are there to play, improve and be part of the badminton family,’ he says. ‘I am playing for fun in the Men’s Doubles (Level B) but I am too old to be competitive and not old enough for the Veterans category yet. There are a number of standout players, however the main standout for me is Don Henley Averia, he is 9 years old and will be playing in the Boys Singles and Boys Doubles Under 10 and Under 13 categories, he is definitely one for the future and hopefully we will see him in a future Olympics. In the Men’s Singles Manoj Sahibjan is the one to watch having won the title previously, as well as other events in and around Qatar.’
The range of ages, and the accessibility it denotes, at the tournament is one of the things that Haddon says makes badminton so appealing.
‘Badminton in Qatar is gaining in popularity, there are many opportunities to start playing, improve on basic skills already gained or play to a high standard against other nationalities.’
The Badminton Tournament takes place between May 31 and June 7 at the Al Arabi Sports Club Indoor Volleyball Facilities. The tournament will include junior, senior and veterans categories, with approximately 400 juniors and 200 seniors participating. Entrance is free. Times of competition TBA. For more information, check out the Qatar Badminton Association on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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