It’s going to be a smashing 2019

Chen Long and Kento Momota

As the world evolves, badminton is also growing on all levels.

And the Badminton World Federation (BWF) is committed to staying relevant, including increasing presence in the digital sphere, and spreading its wings across the world, particularly in Asean.

BWF secretary-general Thomas Lund shares his insights with Twentytwo13 on what stakeholders and fans can expect in 2019.

What would be the biggest BWF programme this year?

Lund: There are several key initiatives that we are working on, including increasing our presence within the digital sphere; building upon the HSBC BWF World Tour as we head into the second year of its existence; our global development programmes such as BWF Shuttle Time and our partnership with UNHCR and our efforts to introduce badminton to Syrian refugees, as well as ongoing steps to improve the governance of the sport.

What were the learning points in 2018? 

Lund: 2018 was a very successful year, but also a very busy one with the launch of the HSBC BWF World Tour, as well as our first year in partnership with our Principal Global Partner, HSBC.

The world is evolving and we need to consistently progress in a range of areas including the World Tour and establishing a digital identity to be able to engage better with new and existing audiences.

We have had success in these areas already and it is now about learning from what we have done and improving as we move forward.

How do you view the progress of grassroots development across the world, especially in Asean? 

Badminton is growing on all levels. At grassroots level, it is a long-term process as it involves the development of organisations, infrastructure and facilities, which is something we are proud of having achieved in many countries already. Diversity within sport as a whole is multiplying quickly, and BWF is committed to staying relevant and spreading our wings across the world, in particular in Asean where we enjoy a high level of awareness and engagement with many elite players across numerous countries putting the sport on the map.

From Malaysian shuttlers Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang being charged with match-fixing to Lee Chong Wei defying odds to smash cancer and return to the court – it’s been a rollercoaster ride for badminton in Malaysia.

These are of course two very unfortunate cases, each in their own way. We’ve obviously experienced a range of learning from the match-fixing case.

As for Chong Wei, we wish him all the best in his ongoing recovery. We hope he can get back on court as soon as possible and recover to full health for the benefit of him and his family.

This is your 10th year in office. What are your memorable and forgettable moments? 

There is not one single thing to mention. There have been many things that have been memorable and some that are forgettable.

But all the things that have happened over the past decade have played a crucial role in the BWF forming a successful pathway to enable badminton to grow globally, including learning from certain incidents on and off the court.

What do you plan to achieve in 2019?

Simply, our aim is to continue the growth of badminton as forecast in our strategic plans.