They often go unnoticed, working diligently from early morning until late in the evening at BWF tournaments to ensure players are ‘well armed’ for their on-court battles.
Who are they?
They are the Li-Ning stringers who service players at BWF Major Events such as the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2016 recently held in Kunshan, China. As the Official Equipment Partner, Li-Ning provided professional racket-stringing services for the prestigious championships. This allowed players to have their rackets strung by a highly qualified and efficient stringing team.
To string rackets for the best players in the world is not an easy task. Most players use a very high stringing tension so it is crucial rackets are strung in the correct way to avoid any damage to their frames. Furthermore, the stringing needs to be extremely accurate and consistent as top players are highly sensitive to even small differences in the tension and the way in which the racket is strung.
In Kunshan, a team of 13 persons rotated shifts to ensure players in both the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup were well looked after. However, given 279 players at the tournament, all the stringers had plenty to do, with players needing a lot of rackets restrung to ensure they were prepared for their important matches.
At the end of the tournament, these meticulous stringers received certificates from Li-Ning to recognise their contribution to the event (featured image; with BWF Events Director, Darren Parks). An interesting – and even surprising – fact about these individuals is that they were all volunteers who paid their own way to Kunshan because they were keen to participate in this world-class badminton tournament.
“They must be stringers of a certain standard. Not just anyone can do this. Sometimes they are persons who own or work for sports shops and want to have the experience of being involved in an elite tournament like this,” explained Koh Wa Cheng of Enterprise Sports Group (ESG) which manages BWF’s sponsorship rights.
The provision of stringers is but one example of the integral support which corporate partners or sponsors offer to enhance BWF tournaments.
Another Major Event sponsor, RedBull China, provided a variety of drink products for the TOTAL BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals; many of which were consumed by players at their post-match press engagements.
Meanwhile, vehicles from Chery – the Official Car for BWF Major Events – were seen whisking officials to and from the venue throughout the tournament; another essential service on such a busy occasion. Cars adorned with the event logo whizzing along Kunshan streets were certainly a ready advertisement for the Thomas-Uber showpiece.
There is no doubt that corporate partners or sponsors are vital to the success of BWF events, not simply providing financial backing but also necessary in-kind goods and services; elements which contribute to the events’ success and the memorable experience which players, fans and others enjoy.