Archive for August, 2013

10 years of

Posted: August 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
The Logo, The Brand

The Logo, The Brand

The world’s most popular badminton webzine is 10 years old this month. Raphael Sachetat and his friend Jeff Chauveau began the journey back in August 2003 in an effort to bring badminton news firstly to the people of France before later starting the international version of the popular website which today is one of the premier badminton websites in the world.

Initially the guys had little intent on their blog being anything more than fun but the labour of love soon turned into a passion to deliver quality news and along with professional on site photos the badzine brand soon became a one stop shop for every badminton fan.

As badzine went international in 2006 with its English language version so to did its popularity and what makes the story all the more special is that all the contributors give their time purely on a voluntary basis.

I myself found my feet in the badminton world at badzine and I have fond memories of many trips to All England and French Opens between 2007 & 2010. I like to think I still hold the record for most articles in one day from a singles event when, as an over enthusiastic greenhorn, I wrote 8 articles (of dubious quality I must add) on the first days play of the 2008 All England.

What makes Badzine work is the spirit in which it operates. Raphael Sachetat has been its leading light since its inception and his trusty sidekick Don Hearn has been the unsung hero of the whole operation for as long as I can remember.

These two guys welcome newbies with open arms and once you have a computer, an ability to work on only a few hours’ sleep and a passion for the sport then you are a perfect candidate for a badzine apprenticeship.

Badzine is special in so many ways. It journalism in its rawest form with and when an article is posted on its platform you can rest assured that it has been compiled from the heart with its writer driven by passion and love for the sport which only serves to seeps into the veins of the end reader.

Not one member of the team has ever made a single Euro from their involvement in the website and for most it costs money to cover events and god only knows how much money people like Raph, Jeff and Don have invested in its development.

The Man behind Badzine - Raphael Sachetat

The Man behind Badzine – Raphael Sachetat

The thing that has remained consistent over the course of Badzines 10 years online has been the requirement for international badminton news delivered in a professional manner. Badzine has been consistent in that delivery even when almost unsurmountable obstacles were put in the way.

I remember vividly the change over to the .net platform and the shift from the joomla to wordpress and all the week before the 2010 worlds in Paris if I remember correctly. We had to learn by doing and somehow we came through and delivered every day from Paris. It was teamwork that got us through that week and without the leadership of Raph we probably would have sunk.

So if you have a passion for the game and you like to express your views in a professional environment you could do a lot worse than giving Raph & Don a call. The guys are always looking for new volunteers to help out both on and off site and to write for badzine should be on the bucket list of every budding badminton journalists. I did it and it was the making of me and I owe all I have in Badminton to my good friend Raph and his band of merry volunteers.

As part of badzine’s anniversary I look forward to travelling to the Denmark Open this year to deliver on site coverage each day.

Onwards and Upwards BADZINE!!

16 year old Marin winning her first senior title in Ireland.

16 year old Marin winning her first senior title in Ireland.

As the controversy surrounding the men’s singles final at the 2013 men’s singles final continues to dominate the badminton headlines the sport itself continues to draw headlines for all the wrong reasons.

One thing we can be assured of is that the ‘air con’ saga will run and run as the alleged match fixing saga and the alleged Chinese match manipulation has been the focus of attention for so many years now.  This type of controversy makes good headlines which sells print and unfortunately generates more revenue than the actual sport itself.

For me personally the recent worlds was all about the game. I have become used to the controversy so this time around my focus was purely on the game, players and results.

The men’s singles final may have been anti-climactical and let’s face it, it was always going to be hard to live up to the Olympic final of last year between the same two players, but this aside we had some tremendous matches, battles and with it the emergence of new stars.

As a European it was uplifting to see the performance of Spain’s Carolina Marin and after her performance in China most of the knowledgeable badminton people around the globe have her name as top of the ‘one of the future’ list.

I think differently in so far as Carolina to me is here and in the ‘now’ as she has been winning senior titles since 2008. Yes the Spaniard has spent most of the last 12 months off the first page of the world ranking list but it does not take a rocket scientist to work out she is so much better than that.

This week sees Marin climb to 17 in the world and firmly in place as Europe’s number 2 after Germany’s Juliane Schenk. Marin’s game and character is infectious. Yes she is vocal on court and there are many that don’t like this side to her game. I absolutely love this aspect of Carolina’s character. She is individual and unique and she is ‘all in’ when she is on court. To me her aptitude and her character should be harnessed and used to promote the sport in Europe on a far greater scale than it already is. She plays hard and fast and her personality draws you in to a point where you almost feel like you are on the court with her. The game as a whole is void of real superstars and any we do have are predominantly Asian and right now we have the makings of a real European star under our noses.

Across Europe many federations have been hit by the global downturn that seems to now have gone on for almost a decade. We see the repercussions of this on tour as players have to cut down on tournaments and in most cases travel without a coach. Spain is no different and to make sure the potential of Carolina Marin, and others for that matter, is fully realised we need to think more as a continent in relation to funding.

European Junior Success in 2011.

European Junior Success in 2011.

I have no doubt that Carolina Marin would already be inside the world’s top 10 if it was not for funding restrictions. Carolina Marin has everything going for her except the funding that befits her talent. It is also worth pointing out that both Marin & her compatriot Corrales have matured at a phenomenal rate this last year which goes to prove that in the face of adversity they who want it will always come through another trait might I add of a real star.

I do think in Europe we need a granting system for these type of players. A funding procedure whereby if you fulfil the criteria, no matter where you are from, you will receive the funding to help achieve top 10 status in the world. You will notice that Marin wear’s a small Badminton Europe logo on her shoulder in competition as she does receive some small funding from BE in a semi scholarship scheme as she has been identified as world class potential. This is a great toe in the water from Badminton Europe and it would be great to see this scheme developed in the future to include others that have world class potential.

Players like Marin need to train and spar with the best and it was great to see players from all Europe’s top nations train together before the worlds this year for a week in Denmark. This is such an important development as it is clear many of the home federations see the need to work together to close the gap on the powerful Asian nations.

It would be great to see this taken one step further and maybe twice yearly our top *female singles players come together for 2/3 weeks to work with former greats such as Tine Baun, Xu Huaiwen & Pi Hongyan. These greats have a database of knowledge that our young players would benefit from. Not just court skills but life skills which would serve to shape our top players of the future.

The simple fact of the matter is that as a continent we need to embrace our continental players as one and help those that need help as we go. We don’t need to mourn the loss of recent greats such as Peter Gade & Tine Baun, we need to make sure as a continent that Carolina Marin, and whoever comes along after her no matter where they are from, get the support services and funding they need which in the long run can only serve to enhance the reputation of badminton in Europe as a whole.

*applicable to all 5 badminton disciplines.