Wind gods come to play as badminton moves outdoors


(Reuters) - The Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Monday unveiled AirBadminton, a new outdoor version of the game, as part of a project to increase global participation in the sport.

Since its inception in the 19th century, badminton has been confined to indoor stadia and halls.

However, after five years of research, the BWF have developed a new outdoor shuttlecock, the AirShuttle, with increased durability, stability and wind resistance to allow people to play on hard, grass and sand surfaces.

BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer, the Atlanta 1996 Olympic gold medallist, believes outdoor badminton will unlock doors to a highly attractive version of the professional sport.

"This is a momentous occasion for badminton. Strategically, AirBadminton will allow us to fulfil our overall objective of putting a badminton racket in the hands of as many people as possible," he said.

"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.

"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."

The BWF confirmed they are now working with leading sports manufacturers to mass produce and rollout the AirShuttle. The eventual aim is for the shuttlecock to be played in winds up to 12 kmph.

The new version of the game will also be played on new court dimensions, making it more suitable to play in outdoor environments, BWF said.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Powell)