Playing badminton on the beach? Yes, it is now becoming real, and official.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) launched a new outdoor game, AirBadminton, and a new outdoor shuttlecock, the AirShuttle, at a global launch ceremony here in Guangzhou on Monday.
"This is a momentous occasion for badminton. Strategically, AirBadminton will allow us to fulfill our overall objective of putting a badminton racket in the hands of as many people as possible," BWF President Poul-Erik Hoyer said at the launching ceremony.
AirBadminton is designed to create opportunities for people of all ages to play badminton on hard, grass and sand surfaces in parks, gardens, streets, playgrounds and beaches, according to the BWF's official announcement.
The BWF said the new outdoor game is also played on new court dimensions, making it more suitable to play in outdoor environments, and on hard, grass and sand surfaces around the world.
Hoyer said AirBadminton provides a pathway for increased global participation in the sport, while opening up doors for a new, highly attractive form of competitive badminton.
"Given that most people's first experience with badminton comes in an outdoor environment, we are now making it easier for everyone to access the sport through a new outdoor game and new shuttlecock, the AirShuttle," he said.
Hoyer said the project has been five years in the making, starting with a vision to develop a new outdoor shuttlecock with increased durability, stability and wind resistance to allow people to have a more positive experience of playing badminton outdoors.
The BWF is currently working with sports manufacturers to mass produce and rollout the AirShuttle. The eventual aim is for the shuttlecock to be played in winds up to 12 kilometers per hour.
"In the future, we see AirBadminton as an exciting, new, energetic version of the sport. Overall, the aim is to inspire more people to play more badminton in more places," Hoyer added.
According to the BWF, Badminton has more than 300 million active players globally, most of which are in Asia and Europe.
"It's also great that it is an inclusive game that can be enjoyed by people with disabilities," said Dong Jiong, Atlanta 1996 men's singles silver medallist and now Chinese national Para badminton head coach, who joined Hoyer in unveiling the AirShuttle.