BWF Descends on Delhi

Thursday, May 22, 2014
Text by Gayle Alleyne

The global badminton family is set for a weekend of deliberations and celebrations in New Delhi, India, as their Annual General Meeting and Gala Awards Dinner mix with the conclusion of the Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals.

Delegates from the Badminton World Federation’s 180 member associations will come together in the host nation’s capital to review the past year and plan for the future while also lauding the best in badminton – both on and off the court.

Activities began today with workshops and meetings before the much-anticipated Member’s Forum tomorrow with the keynote speaker being Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and IOC Executive Board Member, Claudia Bokel (below; right). She will address the topic Elite Athletes and the Entourage – Perspectives, Success Factors & Challenges.

There will also be a presentation on Participation to Podium – Athlete Pathways to Success by Director of the World Academy of Sport, Chris Solly, while BWF Deputy President Gustavo Salazar Delgado; BWF Chair of Development, David Cabello; and BWF Chair of IOC & International Relations, Etienne Thobois, speak on Legacy Rio 2016 – Initiative, Plans and Badminton Legacy. There will also be discussions on anti-doping, bidding for events and Shuttle Time implementation.

Tomorrow evening, badminton administrators will join Thomas & Uber Cup contingents for a night of celebration and camaraderie at the Delegates & BWF Gala Awards Dinner, under the joint patronage of BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer and Badminton Association of India President Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta at Le Meridien hotel.

During the festivities, the 2013 Players of the Year Awards will be presented to the cream of last year’s crop – Male Player of the Year; Female Player of the Year; and Promising Player of the Year (Eddy Choong Award). Among those in the running are some familiar names who are currently locked in battle at Siri Fort Indoor Complex, including China’s Lin Dan, Chen Long and Li Xuerui;  Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan; Aya Ohori and Akane Yamaguchi of Japan; Lee Yong Dae and Heo Kwang Hee of Korea; and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei.

Meanwhile, long-standing BWF official Torsten Berg of Denmark (below; left) will be saluted with the Herbert Scheele Trophy for almost 30 years’ of dedicated service to the BWF. His compatriot, Kirsten Larsen, will receive the Women in Badminton prize. A former international player, Larsen has continued working in badminton, particularly as a mentor for junior female players and in badminton research.

It will be back down to business on Saturday as the BWF’s 75th Annual General Meeting takes place; the first under the presidency of Poul-Erik Høyer who was elected a year ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During this session Anton Subowo of Indonesia is expected to become the newest BWF Council member as he was nominated unopposed for the additional seat on Council. The membership will also receive the 2013 report from Council and consider various amendments to the BWF Constitution and to the Laws of the Badminton.

There is also a proposal to make former BWF President, Dr. Kang Young Joong of Korea (at left; right), an Honorary Life Vice-President of the world-governing body which he led for eight years.

On Sunday, attention turns to the Women’s Forum organised by the Women in Badminton (WIB) Commission. The keynote speaker will be Susan Hunt whose address is entitled The Road to Everest & Beyond – A Journey of Adventures. An Australian now living in New Delhi, Hunt has conquered a series of extreme feats, including climbing Mount Everest; completing various ironman and triathlon events and, most recently, finishing the 2014 Marathon de Sables (Toughest Footrace on Earth) – a seven-day Sahara Desert crossing.

Other speakers are IOC’s Bokel (Athlete to Boardroom – A Personal Story) and Indian badminton coach and former player (winner of 29 national titles), Madhumita Bisht. The latter will give an Indian perspective of being a woman in badminton. There will also be a presentation of women in sport in Afghanistan from Mastora Arezo and a report on the Peace and Sport Cup – Women in Badminton held last month in Dubai.

Delegates, Council members and other guests will attend the Uber Cup finals on Saturday and the last event of the tournament – the Thomas Cup finals – on Sunday. The BWF Council will then have a week of meetings and will also announce the winning bids for next year’s BWF World Junior Championships and the BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals in 2016.