Kuala Lumpur: The popularity of badminton could earn the sport a permanent ‘home’ in the Olympic Games, said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
“With the BWF (Badminton World Federation) doing an excellent job with regards to the integrity of badminton, the sport has a very good place in the Olympic Games and the Olympics programme.
“We saw great efforts put in with regards to the integrity of the sport,” Bach told reporters after visiting the badminton development project at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara, here Monday.
Bach who was accompanied by BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer and BAM secretary-general, Thomas Lund, was greeted by Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Tan Sri Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, BAM Technical Director, Morten Frost Hansen and other BAM officials.
Bach noted that with many young badminton players emerging, it was a signal that the sport could be a permanent fixture in the Olympics.
“They are the future of the Olympics. Therefore, it is great for me to see how these young athletes here are educated and how they enjoy the training centre with good coaches. This is the future of badminton,” he said.
During his visit, Bach spent about half an hour meeting budding Malaysian shuttlers and played badminton with one of them, 14-year-old Nur Syaza Roshidi.
“They are Malaysia’s hopeful for the next Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires and future Olympics,” said Bach.
On the preparation of the upcoming IOC Executive Board and IOC 128th Session, Bach said the preparation was going on smoothly.
“We can look forward to a successful IOC session. We are feeling almost at home here…not only great hospitality but also great efficiency in the preparations,” he added.