Where are the English?

where are the english

Welcome to one of the many lovely outcomes of austerity. Badminton lost funding after the 2012 Olympics due to poor results, it was further cut in 2016. This is the result. It was recently found that there was a toxic environment at high level and that’s not helped with the results or image of the sport either.

I don’t see that it’s going to make a comeback here for a long long time if at all as there’s just not the popularity or funding and kids aren’t generally interested in the sport unless the parents are. It seems to be in a downward spiral which is self reinforcing and difficult to break. If kids don’t see players getting a good career out of badminton they won’t think it’s possible. It’s really a niche sport at high level now that receives very little attention in general.

There’s also a barrier to entry due to the expense. Your average working parent’s can’t afford for their kids to get coaching, train, and play tournaments week in week out like they could a few decades ago. Generally those who rise through the ranks these days have a parent who played at a decent level and can afford to invest a lot of time and money in them, but even then academics tends to be encouraged over badminton towards the age of 16 when the reality of a badminton career sets in.

Gail Emms story of ending up broke and depressed after her career ended put the risk/reward of going pro into context and probably quite a few off.

I think the general high cost of living in the UK, worker instability, and the system that churns out graduates with significant debt in the past decade, coupled with the expense of shuttles, courts, rackets, stringing, etc. has created an extra barrier to this sport that won’t be overcome anytime soon. The UK is in a poor state in general and our standing in this sport reflects it.

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