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Badminton: Vittinghus, Tan and Polii selected to Athletes’ Commission

Dev Sukumar
940   //    12 Mar 2013, 12:48 IST

(L to R): Yuhan Tan (Belgium), Greysia Polii (Indonesia) and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Denmark)

Chinese players might be the world’s best, but they don’t seem to enjoy the confidence of their peers from other nations. In the recently-held elections to select representatives for the BWF Athletes’ Commission, both Cai Yun (men’s doubles World and Olympic champion) and Wang Xin (Olympic semifinalist and multiple Superseries winner) ended fifth and seventh out of eight contenders.

Cai Yun polled 92 of the total 270 votes, while Wang Xin polled 42. The polls were held during the German Open and All England.

Yuhan Tan (Belgium), Greysia Polii (Indonesia) and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Denmark) received the highest votes and will join existing members Lee Yong Dae (Korea), Rodrigo Pacheco (Peru) and Emma Mason (Scotland) as members of the Athletes’ Commission.

The Commission will select a Chair, and this player will attend the next meeting of the BWF Council in Kuala Lumpur in May as a Council Member.

Yuhan Tan received the highest votes among men with 139, while Polii got the highest votes among the women with 130. Vittinghus came second, with 129. Each voter had to select three candidates – one male, one female, and one of either gender.

On his Facebook page, Vittinghus expressed his happiness at being selected. “Finally the results are out! So happy to have been elected and I’m very excited to start working with Yuhan, Greysia and the other members of the AC! Thanks to all the players who showed their interest and came out to vote and also to all the other candidates for making it such a tough choice for everyone. I’m sure this election has already raised the awareness of the AC to a whole new level. I believe we are moving in the right direction.”

Yuhan Tan too sent out this message on his FB page: “Veryyy excited to announce that I have been elected for the Athletes Commission alongside Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Greys Polii!! Looking forward to work(ing) closely together with the other members of the commission and all the athletes to consistently improve conditions for athletes around the world. A big thanks for everybody who came out to vote during the 4 days of election. And a special Thank You for all of you who voted for me!! I will do my best!”

During the campaign, Tan stated that by becoming a member of the Commission, he hoped “to actively stand up for players’ rights and represent their views. I hope to be a positive influence in encouraging players to express their views and create a more accessible environment for players to do so. I have a great passion for the sport and I will work hard to contribute to the progress of the sport we all love!” Tan is probably one of the few players pursuing a medical career as he is in this third year of a Bachelor degree in medicine from Maastricht University. He also has a certificate in Tropical Medicine and a certificate in Basic Life Support. He is also multi-lingual, being able to communicate in English, Dutch, Bahasa, French and German!

Greysia Polii is one of the chirpiest and most popular characters in badminton. One of Indonesia’s top women doubles players (with Melissa Jauhari), Polii said her passion was to be “a communicator between players, BWF, coaches, associations and countries so that we’ll be able to get connected to one another. My dream is to see badminton being played around the world.”

Vittinghus has been ranked in the world’s top-20 over the last year and a half, and ran an active campaign on Facebook. In his campaign pitch, he said: “I hope to first of all be able to raise the awareness of the Athletes’ Commission’s work amongst the athletes. Also I’m hoping to be able to help improve the communication between BWF and the players as I believe we need a better mutual understanding of which direction the sport should be moving and how we’re getting there. From my experience of playing on both the European circuit and Superseries circuit I feel that I have a good idea of some of the important issues players at all levels are dealing with. So with that in mind I hope to bring some ideas to the table that can help make life a little easier for the players and which also contribute to greater appreciation between the players and BWF.”

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Dev Sukumar
Dev S Sukumar is the recipient of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Media Award, 2011. He is India's most widely travelled badminton writer, having covered several international tournaments, including the Olympics, the Asian Games, the CWG Games, World Championships, the All England, the Denmark Open, the Malaysia Open, etc. He has covered badminton for over ten years now. During this period he has met fascinating characters, witnessed great matches, and has authored a biography of Indian badminton great Prakash Padukone. He has written on the game for several publications, including Sports Illustrated, Mint, Badminton Asia magazine, The New Indian Express, Hindustan Times, DNA and IANS. He tweets at
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