BADMINTON England was celebrating today after London won the right to stage the World Individual Badminton Championships for the first time.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) awarded England the 19th World Championships and the event will come to the capital just a year before the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
BADMINTON England Chief Executive Adrian Christy and David Hornby, Commercial Director for Events for London, were in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur yesterday to make the final bid presentation to the Council of the BWF – and today it proved to be a winner!
The bid has received strong financial backing from UK Sport’s World Class Events Programme and has also been supported by the Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe MP, The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and London 2012 Chairman Lord Coe.
A jubilant Christy said after learning the decision: “This is great news for badminton fans throughout Britain and just what the sport needs as we aim to raise its profile in the countdown to the London Olympics.
“I am determined to bring more big events to England and I am confident that I will be able to announce more good news for badminton fans early in the New Year.
“But winning the bid was the easy part. The hard work starts now as we aim to make this first World Badminton Championships to be held in London a worthy event in the build-up to the Olympic Games.”
Upon awarding the Championships to London, BWF Deputy President Punch Gunalan said “The bid from BADMINTON England was very impressive and we are delighted to award the World Championships to England. We know the badminton world will look forward to coming to London.”
The tournament will benefit from an award of up to £500,000 from UK Sport’s National Lottery backed World Class Events Programme and UK Sport’s International Director, John Scott, was equally delighted that a vital opportunity to secure an event of this status had been achieved in the lead up to London 2012:
“This is a tremendous result for BADMINTON England, the UK’s World Class Events Programme, and of course our elite players, as they prepare for the challenge ahead in five years time. Hosting the World Championships in a pre-Olympic year is strategically the most important in the Olympic cycle and guarantees that the very best players in the world will be present in London,” he said.
David Hornby spoke for Events for London when he added: “This is amazing news for both Badminton and London and a great way to end a spectacular year for the capital in terms of sport.
"In a year that has seen London host the hugely successful Tour de France Grand Depart and the first ever competitive game of NFL outside North America, this win underlines again London’s credentials as the leading World City for major events. In the year before the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, we look forward to working with all the partners to make this a fabulous experience for fans, players and the world of Badminton.”
One of the deciding factors in the successful London bid was BADMINTON England’s plans to not only welcome the elite players from all over the world but to use the Championships to inspire thousands of people of all ages to get involved in the sport. There will be a London Schools World Championships as well as a big opportunity for badminton enthusiasts to play a part under a major initiative to recruit new coaches and volunteers to the sport.