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10 Main Reasons China Is So Good (Dominates) at Badminton (CBA …)

China joined other nations in 1978 to form the World Badminton Federation, which was later renamed the Badminton World Federation. The country’s badminton team earned a lot of glory in the 1980s after it won all the 1987 gold medals at the fifth edition of the World Badminton Championships.

Later on, Badminton gained Olympic accreditation in 1992, and this gave China a chance to prove its prowess. When it comes to the Olympics, China boasts the most badminton medals of any other country. Also, the nation has won the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup many times.

To understand why China dominates international Badminton, it is necessary to delve deep into the consistent good practices that have been adopted by the country. These include:

1. Government Support

The country’s men and women programs benefit from huge government funding. The government foots the training, housing, and meal expenditures which lets the players focus on the game. There are numerous schools and camps where the talents of these athletes are honed and which are government-funded. The Chinese are good at optimizing their returns based on massive investments.

The best talents that are identified undergo world-class training with the goal that a sizeable portion of them will be Olympic medalists. Most of the players in other badminton-playing countries have to pay for training themselves or rely on federations for support. These financial obligations prevent most of the world’s athletes from accessing top-quality training.

The Chinese Badminton Association

The sport is also very well-managed by capable institutions. The Chinese Badminton Association, an independent legal entity, serves as the governing authority in matters of badminton. It has been serving in this capacity since 1958, and it represents the nation in the International Badminton Federation.

Under this association are 6 committees that oversee various aspects including research, youth, rules, coaches, development, and news. These committees represent a well-laid-out structure that ensures the continued dominance of China in badminton.

2. Huge Pool of Talent

The Chinese have implemented highly effective talent sourcing and grooming methods. Every small locality in the country has its badminton talent pool. Skilled players gradually rise through the ranks, and backed by the country’s substantial support, compete in national games.

Most Chinese participate in the sport as a recreational activity and have therefore become good at it. Basically, China has benefitted from its deeply ingrained badminton culture.

A Popular Sport

The Chinese love playing badminton in the autumn and spring, and on various spaces such as schools, shopping centers, the streets, and homes. Statistically speaking, a fifth of Chinese citizens indulge in the sport.

When people in a particular nation become enthusiastic about a game, the demand naturally increases and so does the publicity and the tournaments. This principle has worked favorably for China as badminton is among the top four sports in China, along with games such as ping pong and soccer.

China, therefore, does not have to struggle to fill its national team. Badminton players are sprawled out in every part of the nation, and so it becomes a question of training the elite players to international stardom.

3. Training

Sports-centered Boarding Schools

There are thousands of sports-centered boarding schools across China that receive substantial funding from the federal government. Young athletes who exhibit talent in various sports, including badminton, are checked into these establishments.

For some players, this is the first step towards the Olympics. These schools have quality training facilities that hone the talents of the players. Most budding players are recognized quickly at the centers, and they undergo rigorous training to maximize success.

Early Start

Most Chinese badminton players start playing before the age of 11. By the ages of 12 and 13, a player is dedicating more time to the sport, and they are involved in district and club competitions. The country is continually looking for elite players, and it injects massive resources into the training and wellbeing of the creme de la creme. The players are also in constant competition with each other.

The first year of training involves the young players doing simple drills over and over again to strengthen their muscles. The athletes go over basic drills over and over again, and while this tactic may seem robotic, it makes them better players in the long run. The meals of the athletes feature special herbs and exotic medicines. The athletes additionally devote six hours or even more in a day to training.

Elite National Players

One of the elite Chinese national players is Zhang Ning who began training at the age of 11. She got a spot on the national team at 16, but it was not until she was 29 years that she represented the country in the Olympics. In recollection of that experience, Ning attributed to passion and dedication to her years-long patience.

Like Ning, many badminton players in China have to prove themselves amid their equally excellent team players. Second or third-tier players could even rank as the best athletes in other countries.

Effective Training Methods

The Chinese are quite secretive when it comes to their camps and training methods. The world, however, witnesses the effectiveness of the grueling training techniques that the players undergo at badminton games in the Olympics and other global events.

In almost all of the primary international events, China takes home 80-90% of all the badminton medals. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics for example, China received three of the five available medals and eight medals in 2012. The country’s top-rated athletes are highly masterful and skillful in the games that they play.

4. Coaches

Great Players Become Great Coaches

Many ex-players on the national and provincial level transition to badminton coaching, mostly in their hometown localities. Players have the opportunities to learn from the very people they admired in the badminton court. This proximity to greatness fuels the thirst for success among budding athletes.

One of these ex-player coaches is Zhang Ning who was appointed to coach the country’s women’s national team in 2006. In addition to being a coach, Ning also undertook her own training. Coaches like Zhang Ning impart the skills they use themselves in the Olympics to further prepare the budding athletes.

Another former international player turned coach is Zhang Jun. He was singled out as the head of the Chinese Badminton Association on January 28, 2019.

World-Class Coaches

China also prides itself on having a skilled pool of world-class coaches like Tang Xianhu. Tang was one of the exemplary Indonesian junior players before going to China to work in competitive badminton between 1961 to 1979. In 1963, Tang individually won the Games of New Emerging Forces, and he replicated the win in the Asian Games of New Emerging Forces.

He remained unbeaten from 1965 to 1975 in the Chinese national games both as an individual and in the team. Tang took home two bronze medals at the Asian Games in 1974.

After retiring from professional badminton, Tang coached the Indonesian team and subsequently the Chinese team. He is well-known for guiding Ji Xinpeng to Olympic gold in 2004.

Sports Insight Analysts

The coaches also benefit from insight relied upon them by hundreds of analysts and support teams. During the Olympics, these analysts examine the strengths and vulnerabilities of players from other countries, and this information is taken to the coaches for more effective instruction.

Hiring Foreign Coaches

The country also hires foreign coaches if need be. International badminton coaches move to China due to the attractive working conditions. There is money available to acquire training gadgets and to even hire assistant coaches. If they want to try out new training methods, for example, the resources are readily available provided good performance is guaranteed.

5. Discipline and Motivation

Economic & Wellness Incentives

Athletes from low-income families in China often view sports as a way out of poverty. The parents of budding talents often benefit from a house in their hometown given by the local sports bureau. Also, students from these families view the state-run sports schools as their chance of receiving an education.

Athletes from low-income families in China often view sports as a way out of poverty. The parents of budding talents often benefit from a house in their hometown given by the local sports bureau. Also, students from these families view the state-run sports schools as their chance of receiving an education.

Olympic medalists in China benefit from payments from the General Administration of Sport as well as provincial payments. The 2008 Olympic gold medalists, for example, were set to receive $51,000 each. China took home a whopping 51 gold medals. This cash payment was an increase from the $29,000 in 2004. For most athletes, sports is the only platform for income generation. If they fail at badminton, their families lose face.

A Strict Training System

The athletes also adhere to a strict schedule every day. Their days typically begin at 6:30 am after they leave their dormitories to do warm-ups before breakfast. They then proceed to the gym to train for some hours before lunch and a short nap. There is more practice in the afternoon as well as some classes. The athletes subsequently receive physical therapy and dinner. The athletes may undergo further training in the evening before big competitions.

A former British coach, after working and observing the Chinese team, noted that the players trained harder than any athletes in any other country they had ever seen. He concluded that the players had an ability to endure pain for a more extended period than western counterparts. Further, the players exhibited reliability as they reported for practice every day and gave it their most effort.

6. National Pride

For years, China has inculcated a culture of national pride in the nation’s athletic performance on the global stage, particularly in the Olympics. The country’s players feel like it is their responsibility to make China shine in their games. China’s first gold medal, for example, brought its entire country into tears when it was won by Xu Haifeng in 1984. The communist state took this gold medal as a sign of having earned a place among the global powers.

International Spotlight

When China, hosted the 2008 Olympics, it went to great lengths to display its prestige and culture. One billion viewers tuned in to watch its opening ceremony which features thousands of artists dancing in synchronized choreography. The event not only showcased Chinese culture but was also aimed at cultivating national pride in the country. This outstanding ceremony was heralded by the Guardian as China’s coming-out party as a major world power.

China took the Olympic stage in 1984 after being absent for three decades. Although the Chinese did not expect to perform well, it was a step towards establishing itself as a top sports power. This objective was put forward by Peking (Beijing). Since then, competitive sports in China have been an avenue of cultivating national pride. The accomplishments of athletes in the international spotlight make the Chinese feel incredibly proud.

To sustain this pride, many potential athletes enter a system of representing their cities, provinces, and ultimately their country. In exchange, the government churns out rewards in the form of compensation and social status.

7. A System Geared to Win

China benefits from a well-established and integrated system that aims at winning in international sporting events. China modeled its sports and athletic program from the Soviet structure of athletic development. Youngsters were recruited at a tender age and checked into state-funded training centers which prepared them for global sporting events through rigorous training.

Large Investment in Sports Development

China is continuously fueling millions of resources into foreign coaches, scouts, talent academies, and technology to churn out athletic stars. By the time the 1988 Olympics were held, the country had invested about $260 million in its athletic endeavors. Although the country only managed to get five gold medals, many young players were already in the system. In 1992, China was ranked fourth in the overall medal count.

Elite Sports Camps

China prides itself in over 100 elite sports camps which train thousands of athletes including 96% of the country’s national champions. The biggest of these training camps is the Haigen Sports Training Base situated in Kunming. The state has more than 3,000 government-managed sports schools and additional sports programs. The schools and the programs have churned out almost all Chinese Olympic athletes.

Only around one in eight sport school attendees get a spot in the provincial team. Out of these provincial candidates, a third make the national team while only a fifth become Olympians-in-training. The competition to get to the Olympics is so cut-throat that only around one in eight of the athletes that train for the games actually make the cut.

Badminton athletes have to pass through rigorous country competition stages at the town, provincial, and country levels. The players who make it to the international events are therefore the very best China has to offer.

8. Recruitment Methods

The Chinese athletic development system relies on effective recruitment strategies. The system relies on early recruitment, where players are identified and trained from a young age. Different cities assess children between the ages of 8 to 13, and select sports candidates based on the results.

Children that exhibit the most promise are sent to government-sponsored institutions. Players with a quick reflex, for example, are singled out for badminton and ping pong. X Rays and bone tests can be used to determine the bone structure and density and predict future development. Coaches can also recommend players to sports schools as can the full-time scouts who crisscross the country looking for talent.

9. Better Players

China has established itself as a Badminton superpower by just having better players. Take this list for example of the top ten badminton players in history. Four of the athletes are Chinese badminton champions.

“Super Dan”

Lin Dan is perhaps the greatest of the world’s badminton players. He is commonly called “Super Dan,” a title which he earned for winning every title the game has to offer. Lin Dan made his badminton debut in 2000 when he won the team and singles events in the Badminton Asia Junior Championships.

His first title was earned in the 2002 Korea open. In 2004, Lin took home the titles of the Swiss Open and All England Open. He was part of the delegation that won the 2004 Thomas Cup by defeating the US, Indonesia, Korea, and Japan. Lin was ranked as the number one player in 2005, and he won the China Masters, Japan Open, and the World Cup tournament.

Lin acquired his first world title in 2006 and took home five more individual titles including the Japan Open, Hong Kong Open, and the Chinese Taipei Open. Lin shone in the 2008 Olympics where he defeated his teammates. By the time he reached 28 years, Lin had finalized the “Super Grand Slam” by winning all of the nine available major titles in the badminton sphere.

Gao Ling

Gao Ling is another widely celebrated badminton player in China. She has a successful repertoire as a doubles player in women’s badminton. Gao Ling has taken home four gold medals out of the total nine at the BWF World Championships.

Three of the medals were won in 2001, 2003, and 2006 with Huang Sui while she received one medal after playing in mixed doubles with her teammate Zhang Jun. Ling and Huang captured six consecutive titles in the women’s doubled at the All-England Championships between 2001 and 2006. Ling, with her partner Qin Yiyuan, received a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics, and also in the 2004 Olympics, she earned a silver medal with Huang Sui.

Li Lingwei

China has made many great badminton players in history. In the 1980s, Li Lingwei dominated women’s badminton with outstanding court coverage and netplay.

She won the World Championships in 1983 and 1989 in Denmark and India respectively. Li and her partner Han Aiping won the IBF World doubles in 1985. The two players were also involved in the biennial Uber Cup wins of the national team. Li did not make an Olympic debut as badminton was added in 1992.

10. Outstanding Team

The Best of the Best

China’s badminton team has the most elite players the country has to offer. Not only are these players in competition with others from across the world, but there is fierce competition between themselves as well. Since there are many badminton players in China, a player has to be at their best performance as others will readily fill his/her spot.

The first Thomas Cup title to be won by the team was received in 1982 in London after the Chinese team defeated Indonesia. In 1984, the team beat England to get the Uber Cup in Malaysia. Since then, the Chinese national team has taken home 8 more titles of the Thomas Cup and 12 more of the Uber Cup.

Excellent Facilities and Equipment

Additionally, the team has access to state-of-the-art facilities, technology, and equipment. The players wear the traditional badminton shoes called the Baiky shoes which are fitted with canvas tops and rubber soles. The shoes offer the best traction and grip on any surface and thus enhances the footwork of the players.

During practice shifts, the players use the approved JinQue badminton series shuttles which have excellent flight characteristics. The players also regularly use racket grips from the Kimony KGT-111 series which are super-absorbent and non-slippery

The country’s youth badminton team is sponsored by Kason, a company known for its effective series of rackets. These rackets have good flight characteristics and are equally durable.

The TSF 86Ti, for example, is produced from graphite enhanced with titanium. Its design is credited to the famous coach Tang Xianhu, and it is especially fit for hard-hitting players. The Chinese are masters at making products that suit their precise needs.

Final Thoughts

Asian countries enjoy relative dominance in badminton, but of all of them, China displays the most dominance. The most critical ingredient in this dominance is the players and the government channels a lot of resourcing to nurturing its badminton talent.

The country’s training methods have however generated criticism as young kids are expected to follow through with strict training schedules. China’s professional badminton athletes take the sport as a full-time job. With bills such as housing and training taken care of by the government, the players put maximum effort into being the best.

There is a lot of internal competition in the sport as well. Only a small number of the players make it to the international stage, and therefore the athletes have to keep working hard to earn this prestigious spot. Chinese badminton players are an example of the rewards of hard work and dedication.