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Professional and amateur badminton events held at Incheon stadium

Professional and amateur badminton events held at Incheon stadium

Posted July. 10, 2017 07:22,   

Updated July. 10, 2017 07:53

At the badminton courts of a stadium crowded with people, around 30 shuttlecocks flew in the air continuously. The shuttlecocks resembled life-like objects, which flew high in an arc and then suddenly dropped sharply. Both national team members and community club amateurs were immersed in their games and shouted out fiercely whenever they returned in smashes.

The two-day live matches took place at Incheon Namdong Stadium where the 2017 Incheon Airport Badminton Korean League and the National Amateur Badminton Competition took place from Saturday to Sunday. It was the first competition where professional elite players and amateur sports players gathered under one roof. The courts were filled with hot air, with the event participated by around 5,000 amateurs grouped in 2,800 groups and appropriately 200 professional players from 23 teams.

To accommodate such high number of players, 30 courts were arranged on the first floor of the stadium, with 28 for amateur games and two for elites. In addition, 18 courts have been additionally installed on the supplementary stadium located on the basement floor. All in all, 48 games were held simultaneously.

In his opening speech, Badminton Korea Association Chairman Park Ki-hyun celebrated the meaningful event, by saying, "A new competition saw the light of day, as we tear down the barriers between badminton as a sports for all game and an elite professional match. Today is a bery meaningful event in the 60 years of Korean badminton." As the sponsor of the event, Incheon International Airport CEO Jeong Il-young commented, "The new event has become a venue for a festival where both top-tier professional badminton players and passionate amateur players nationwide gathered to enjoy the quality games."

The two-day event, which held various heated matches, became a best practice where professional and amateur players alike mingled successfully. Furthermore, the stadium was crowded with over 3,000 fans. "It was so fascinating to play right next to Lee Yong-dae, Sohn Wan-ho and Seong Ji-hyun whom I only saw on TV. It would be great if there were many more competitions like this," said Kim Hye-jeong, head of the Gyeongbuk-Gimcheon Badminton Community. "The pro and amateurs players engaged in matches alongside each other," said Ha Tae-kwon, Olympic gold medalist and manager of Yonex Team, welcoming the event. "The professional players were deeply focused as they were playing at an event filled with passionate crowds."

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com