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Another bumper year: the growing impact of badminton

Dan Lin of China competes during the Men's Singles Badminton Semi-final against Chong Wei Lee of Malaysia on Day 14 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Riocentro - Pavilion 4 on August 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
by William Kings, AIPS Badminton Commission

London, April 17, 2018 - The first global event of the year will take place in Thailand from May 20-27 when Bangkok’s IMPACT Arena hosts the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2018. The women’s Uber Cup will come to Thailand for the first time although the men’s Thomas Cup was staged there back in 1976. This year marks the 30th Thomas Cup and 26th Uber Cup. The week in Thailand follows on from the Commonwealth Games badminton and the European Championships, which took place this month.

Denmark, who became the first European nation to win the Thomas Cup when they defeated Indonesia 3-2 in Kunshan two years ago, will once again be strong challengers while nine-time champions China will be bidding for their first win since 2012. Indonesia have the most wins with 13 but their last triumph came in 2002. No European nation has ever captured the Uber Cup and that run of misfortune is surely going to continue with Japan starting as strong favourites along with defending champions China, who will be seeking their 15th triumph.

There is a second major event later this year when the Chinese city of Nanjing stages the TOTAL BWF World Championships 2018 from July 30-August 5. It will be the first of two World events for China over the next 12 months as Nanning will host the Sudirman Cup (world mixed team) Championships next May.

Switzerland are also looking forward to hosting a second global event as Basel will stage the World Championships in August 2019. It had been initially expected that Tokyo would have won that bid as a test event for the 2020 Olympic Games but the BWF settled on Basel.

Nanjing, Nanning and Basel will all be global badminton hosts for the first time.

The Basel event will be a unique spectacle as they will also host the BWF Para-Badminton World Championships 2018 simultaneously. This will be a great boost for para-badminton ahead of its badminton debut in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

It all adds up to exciting times for badminton, topped off by this year’s restructuring of the international tournament programme with the introduction of the HSBC BWF World Tour 2018. This is a 26-tournament programme divided into five levels with the three-tournament Super 1000 topping the pyramid. The year-ending World Tour finals, which previously featured the Race to Dubai, will be held in Guangzhou in China from December 12-16.

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