As you have seen in recent international badminton tournaments, China’s performance wasn’t as dominant as it used to be. Is this because of Chinese players getting worse, the world improving or a combination of both?
Like many things, there are always several factors so a combination of both would be your answer. But I would say it’s heavily focused on the world improving but first let’s talk about Chinese badminton players.
Chinese Badminton Players Tanking?
First off, Chinese players are by no means bad. China still remains as one of the most dominant countries if not still the most in the world. But their performance wasn’t as good as it used to be. China hasn’t produced a singles player like Lin Dan for some time. Recent “superstars” from China such as Shi Yu Qi and Chen Long are inconsistent. They may have won major tournaments such as Chen Long winning the Olympics and the 2015 World Championships. But they seem to struggle quite a lot recently.
Despite my bash on the mens singles players, China hasn’t really tanked to be honest. When we look at rankings, Chinese players are consistently ranked high and players reach semi-finals and finals consistently as well. In fact the mens doubles and mixed doubles has remained extremely dominant if not getting better. The only players that do show a little evidence of tanking are the women’s singles and doubles. In the recent 2018 World Championships, not a single medal in women’s doubles was awarded and only a bronze medal was given in singles.
Although the competition is really due to the increase in world skill, China has let up a little on training methods. While Chinese training methods are still very intense and strict, China is becoming more westernized. People are becoming less strict on children and thus training is also becoming less intense.
But here are the main reasons it seems like China isn’t as dominant anymore.
A few years ago, many Chinese coaches have been leaving the country and other countries have been paying them to train their players. A notable country is Denmark and India. Having these Chinese coaches train with other countries has led to a significant improvement in training methods. Players who also underwent training directly under these coaches have noted of huge improvements to their speed and stamina.
More recently, it hasn’t been just Chinese coaches. Japan’s recent rise can be partly attributed to Park Joo Bong, the Japanese national team’s Korean coach. What this means is that the spread of coaches around the world has increased the knowledge of training methods.
The Spread of Information
While the spread of information can be largely due to coaches moving around countries, other factors has led to this as well. These factors include China opening up more to the world, allowing foreigners to occasionally train with them and video filming being significantly better in combination with the internet.
With China’s government system becoming much more open, lots of student and player exchanges have been made with other country. In countries like Canada and the U.S.A, we have summer camps that welcome international people. The same thing is happening with China, just it’s a bit more difficult. Players from Singapore and a summer camp run by Becky are some examples of people being able to train in China.
Having extremely high quality videos and the internet is also extremely useful. Players, coaches, and fans alike can watch and analyze tournaments anytime. The power of being able to analyze allows players to devise strategies as well as learn from the other players. Specific players don’t just stay number 1 anymore, being able to analyze their weaknesses and strengths has allowed other players to beat the number 1.
Larger Player Base
As with basically every sport or competition that involves lots of people, having a larger player base filters the good from the bad; the exceptional from the good. Badminton is a sport that is growing very fast and as a result, players must work harder than others if they want to be at the top.
There are many new, young players arriving into the international scene. Japan and Denmark are countries that have been producing lots of great young players. For example, the recent doubles pair from Japan, Kamura and Sonoda taking second place in the 2018 BWF World Championships. With Kento Momota coming back into the scene and Viktor Axelsen getting into his prime age, who knows how the badminton scene will play out.
Of course, China is still probably the most dominant country in badminton but the world skill overall has become much stronger. The spread of information and increasing player base will allow pro badminton play to reach intense levels.
I want to hear what you think! Please leave a comment or question below!
As always good luck in your games and have a great day!