Early this August, China’s badminton team won three golds, two silvers and three bronzes in the Beijing Olympics, ranking the 4th medal-winning sport for the country (the top three are gymnastics, weightlifting and diving). Chinese Badminton Association, sub-danwei of the General Administration of Sport of China (GASC), is recently considering bringing back its long gone badminton league, a move aiming at raising incomes of badminton players and coaches in local teams, and keeping Chinese players the cream of the crop.
Chinese Badminton Association once formed a league back in 1999, which went down in 2003 due to a failure of generating profits. Aside from international matches organized by Badminton World Federation, local players in China nationwide now can only play in two tournaments organized annually by the association: National Champions Tournament (全国冠军赛) and National Tournament (全国锦标赛), which is, no doubt, far from good for the development of young talents.
Li Yongbo, the head coach of Chinese National Badminton Team, told press recently that the association had decided to kick off a new badminton league next year even before the Olympics. “We’ll try to replace the tournaments by a league in 2009, and to make it bigger should we achieve our goal in 2010.”
Can Li and his fellow colleagues reach their goal? It’s reported that the association is looking for a sponsorship of about RMB 5-6 million to start. But if they are to follow the route of Chinese Table Tennis League, where clubs’ revenues are mainly generated by touring the country and getting bonuses from generous local private business owners, we’ll be curious to see how long they can make it under the current economic conditions.
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