Swetha Image Courtesy:
07 Nov, 2017
Badminton Legends have thrust in India as part of the Yonex
Legends Vision tour. Former stalwarts Peter Gade, Taufik Hidayat, and Lee Yong
Dae along with Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan spoke to the media prior to their
participation in the exhibition matches of the event.
Excerpts from media interaction:
On Indian badminton evolution:
Peter Gade: Because
of the good performances from Sindhu, Srikanth, and Saina, Indian badminton has
been evolving. It is very important for the sport to have celebrities, people
who are performing on a high level and at the same time the other people know
about it. That is what you are seeing now in India. In India, people also know
a lot of about the guys sitting here (the legends). So that is a very good
combination. We have seen a big evolution of Indian badminton players and we
need the broader public to know about these players, not only as players but as
Lee Yong Dae: I’m expecting the future of Indian badminton
doubles to be on rise in next three to four years. India can win an Olympic
medal in the next edition in doubles.
The entry of Mulyo Handoyo in India:
Taufik Hidayat: He is an excellent coach but not just on the
court but off court as well. Besides coach, he is my friend, brother and
father. We can share anything and he knows how to manage the players off-court,
which is his great power.
Thoughts on Srikanth saying the era of Chinese badminton is
Peter Gade: In the
men’s singles, you have Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, Chen Long, and then you have
some younger players coming forward and starting to make their impact like
Srikanth. A player like Kento Momoto
will also come. It’s a very exciting period for men’s singles and hopefully we
will see some great matches and fights. Now, badminton has become very open in
men’s singles. So, may be in next Olympics, you will see a group of stars from
men’s singles, not just players from the top ranked but also emerging
Asia has been the powercenter since quite a time now. But,
European nations are making their way too. Is badminton becoming a global
center for badminton?
Peter Gade: For me, I
still see Asia as the badminton
powercenter. Now may be we have more different countries taking part from Asian
and Europe, we have seen Carolina Marin from Spain and a few others. I have
been working with the French team, trying to produce players, a few things are
happening but I still see, the power centre is in Asia. Denmark is also
producing players for the highest-level and a few other European countries, it
is good for the game if we have more countries taking part. We still have a lot
of work to be done in Europe to bring badminton to the same level of Asia, who
has lot of attention and resources.
On the upcoming Indian players and end of China’s dominance
Lin Dan: In India,
you see players like Saina and Srikanth, who have been doing well. The junior
shuttlers are doing very well too. In China, young people are getting involved
into the sport currently. In high schools, they have their groups. So, sooner
or later we will be back.
The emergence of Viktor Axelsen as the World Champion:
Peter Gade: Viktor is
very young player and is very ambitious. He is willing to put his 100% effort
in the sport. And that is what he is doing and I have a lot of respect on him.
He is big boy so he has got a lot of
range with his style of play in attacking in a powerful way. His challenge for
the coming years will be to remain stable, perform at every single tournament
at the highest level, it’s a challenge for him to take care of his body and his
preparations in the right way. He still needs to develop his game to be at the
top in men’s singles.
Shadowing of the men’s singles by emerging of women’s
Peter Gade: In women’s singles we have a lot of
personalities coming forward from the different countries. And’ it is just the
beginning. It is mainly because of the Chinese domination and the more open on
the global circuit, you will see reaction from the Chinese women’s singles.
Let’s hope we continue to have very healthy competition, which is good for the
game and spectators.
Rivalry between Lin Dan and Lee Ching Wei:
Lee Chong Wei: Lin Dan and I started our career in Asian
juniors. Our rivalry has been very good on the court, but off-court we are very
good friends. I respect him. Everybody wants me and Lin Dan to play against
each other. As lot of youngsters doing some good shows in badminton, for me and
Lin Dan it will be tough to win titles now. The next big rivalry I think will
be Viktor Axelsen and Kento Momota.
The idea behind the Legends Vision initiative:
Peter Gade: With the aim of having wider audience around the
world and to get more young people to badminton, Yonex made this initiative
possible and I think for all of us, it makes sense as individuals; we did a
wonderful job in our sport for many many years. Lee Ching Wei and Lin Dan are
still doing it. We have a
lot of fans all over the world. (laughs) Together we can send a very clear
message, a powerful one to the Badminton fans around the world, not only
badminton (playing) countries, but also hopefully in countries where badminton
needs to be bigger.
on the alleged emotional ‘letter’ from Lin Dan to Lee Chong Wei that went viral
on social media:
No, it was not real.