The Burgs Olympic series: Badminton
The 2012 Summer Olympics kicked off Saturday in London.
Thousands of athletes from across the world will test their skills in sports such as diving, wrestling, track and field,
volleyball and even badminton.
We turned to local athletes who specialize in these sports, asking them for tips and what to look for during the epic event.
DESCRIPTION: Players hit a shuttlecock over the net into their opponents’ half. The aim is to score points by playing the shuttlecock so that it cannot be returned over the net within the boundary lines. Matches are played over the best of three games. Each game is won by the first player or doubles pair to reach 21 points by a margin of two clear points. However, if the score reaches 29-29 the winner of the next point wins the game.
HISTORY: Badminton made its full Olympic debut at Barcelona 1992. Asian countries now dominate the sport. China, Indonesia and Korea have won 23 of the 24 gold medals awarded since the sport’s first appearance at the game
COMPETITION DATES: Saturday-Aug. 5
LOCAL ATHLETE: Austin Thomas, 18, of Wytheville
EXPERIENCE: Thomas has three months of experience on the senior open courts of Wytheville Community Center and a few years of recreational play at George Wythe High School. The Wytheville Community Center has three courts dedicated to the sport on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 9 a.m. to noon. Open courts are available to anyone that wants to play. A small community of mostly senior players gathers to play the sport regularly, and have competed in Senior Olympics and the Commonwealth Games state wide. Some of the players have competed on a national level, and a few have traveled to international competitions.
Q: What do you like about the sport?
A: What I like most about badminton is while although it is really competitive, most everyone I play with is very willing to work with me towards improvement. Also, since most kids my age refer to badminton as an “old persons sport”, it’s funny to see their face when some of these “old people” smash the birdie at their face….they don’t mess around. I also like fact that badminton in a lifetime sport that I can continue to enjoy.
Q: What advice would you give to the Olympic Badminton players?
A: I would tell an Olympic badminton player the same thing I would tell any other athlete. You’ve trained hard to get to where you’re at so when your nerves start to build up, remember all the work you’ve put in and refuse to let anybody take that from you.
Q: What should the average viewer be looking for while watching the sport on television?
A: Viewers should look for how long the volleys last – the longer the volley, the more experienced and skilled the players are. A short volley in badminton usually means one of the players is out skilled. I learn something new every time I watch a game. The Olympic games would be a great time for anybody interested in the sport to learn the rules and some tricks of the game.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8620
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