Li Xuerui is the world’s best female badminton player and Wang Yihan is the second best. Lin Dan is considered to be the best overall male badminton player of all time and Chen Long is currently the second ranked male player in the world. There is one common link between all of them, they are all Chinese.
The Chinese have dominated the field of badminton for a long time now and winning for them is like a habit that they cannot get rid of. A good habit one might say, or a mere obsession with being known as the world’s best athletes.
Right from the Olympics to the Grand Prixs, they seem to make their presence felt everywhere and often come out as victors. The other competitors have to fight them tooth and nail, almost every single time, but mostly to no avail.
And when it comes to such world domination, there have to be several reasons that help make it happen. Let’s look at some of the reasons.
1) Government funding
The government in China is said to fund a majority of the sports schools and camps where these world class athletes train. They seem to be a very focused government and try to optimize their returns against their heavy investments. So if they pick out 10 kids to fund, they put them through the best possible training that is available and expect at least 8 of them to be Olympic medalists. So money for training is really not that big an issue there unlike in other countries like India or the US where the athletes have to shell out a lot of money to access world class training.
2) Knack of picking out the best talent
The Chinese have a large population and half of them are trained to be athletes. They believe in catching them young and so they probably go from school to school looking for exceptional students and pick them out and train them in the sport that would best suit them. For example, a tall kid will be made to train in basketball and a quick one will be trained in running. Unlike in other countries where the kids themselves get to make a choice of sport that they would like to pursue, here, the children are forced into a sport that the coaches and trainer feel that they will excel in.
Other countries who have had Chinese coaches coaching their badminton players have also excelled in the sport under their tutelage. Like Denmark, where their assistant coach is from China. Rumour has it that a Chinese coach picked out Gopichand as a rising star when he was still unknown to the world.
3) Hard training
The Chinese are very secretive when it comes to their training camps and facilities. They never divulge their secrets and so there are just a few documentaries or verified reports that give us a glimpse of their training methods. Around the time of the London Olympics, there were several pictures that were doing the rounds on the internet that showed poor little kids, no more than 8 or 10 years old, going through painful training sessions along with harsh punishments for failing to accomplish something. They are trained for several hours together, pushing their limits each day until they become unbeatable. Winning a medal or becoming the world’s best is made their life’s motto.
4) Motivation and discipline
I think the feeling of having a part in patriotic glory and bringing fame to the family is something that is passed on from generation to generation and that is what keeps most athletes motivated and become the world’s best players. And when it comes to such motivation being the root cause of such achievements then there is bound to be absolute discipline and immense hard work that goes into the training. Sadly, most Indian badminton players are deemed to be lazy and uninspired.
There might be many other reasons that make the Chinese such great players but these seem like the most feasible ones that might successfully explain their amazing skillset.Published 20 Feb 2014, 15:21 IST