Brigg road to fame


Different strokes: Peter Briggs is a member of the athletes commission with the Badminton World Federation.

PETALING JAYA: Remember men’s doubles shuttler Peter Briggs of England?

His name may not ring a bell for many badminton fans in Malaysia but Briggs and his then partner Tom Wolfenden were the ones who pulled off a stunner to beat Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong in the second doubles of the opening group tie at the 2016 Thomas Cup Finals in Kunshan, China.

It was the only point Malaysia dropped in their 4-1 win against the English team.

More than four years later, Briggs is the only one of the four in that match to still be in active action – not only as a player but also as a member of the athletes commission with the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The commission is headed by Marc Zwiebler (Ger), P. V Sindhu (Ind), Kirsty Gilmour (Sco), Ville Lang (Fin) and Saina Nehwal (Ind, ex-officio).

The 28-year-old Briggs, who switched to playing for Canada since 2019, said advocating for shuttlers by improving their standards and off-court skills had brought him much joy but the current task is to help provide a level field for the players when tournaments restart.

The badminton season, which was halted after the All-England in March, will resume with the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 3-11.

“In my experience, one of the most common issues raised by shuttlers is the transportation at tournaments,” said Briggs, who has represented England for 15 years and won the 2017 Canadian Open Grand Prix with Wolfenden.

“We understand schedules can be hectic and it is incredibly important to have transport running on time in order to give the shuttlers the best chance to prepare for matches and recover after them.

“I have personally experienced it. I had to rush without cooling down to make the last transport and in some cases missed it entirely.

“Another important area is the tournament scheduling – athletes need to be made aware of the schedule for the following day (or at least have a ballpark playing time) before they go to bed in the evening.”

With many changes having taken place over the last decade, Briggs said players had become a resilient lot through challenges.

“The scoring system (21x3 rally scoring format) that we have now was a challenge at the start but it has become exciting for badminton fans. I know there are new ideas to make the sport more interesting and I believe a change in format will excite the fans more,” he said.

“From an athlete’s perspective, change can be frustrating as new formats require new playing styles and create new challenges.

“However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about athletes – it is that we are resilient and adaptable.

“A great example of this is the new service rule, I don’t think there are many athletes out there who like this change however we all now compete with it successfully.”

While many say the game has turned into a drab affair without the famous four – Lin Dan (Chn), Peter Gade-Christensen (Den), Lee Chong Wei (Mas) and Taufik Hidayat (Ina) – Briggs believes to the contrary.

“We have several incredibly exciting talents. I am confident we will see some incredible matches in the future,” he said.

“Through increased quality in broadcasting, we are able to see amazing shots and feats pulled off by these players in high definition and slow motion.

“With Hawkeye as well, the technical development around the game makes for a very exciting future.

“Badminton is gaining popularity by the day! We have more events now than ever, prize money is on the rise and more and more grassroots players are getting involved.

“Even in Canada, I see participation increasing all the time. I am sure the country will produce some amazing talents,” added Briggs.
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Peter Briggs , England , Thomas Cup Finals

   

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