Olympic Day: Join the World’s Largest 24-Hour Digital Workout
Olympic Day, celebrated annually on 23 June, commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Games.
It is not only a celebration, but an international effort to promote fitness and well-being in addition to the Olympic ideals of fair play, perseverance, respect and sportsmanship. The goal is to promote Olympic values and participation in sports regardless of age, gender or athletic ability.
Olympic Day 2020 will see athletes and fans all over the globe get active in the world’s largest and first ever 24-hour digital Olympic workout. Twenty-three Olympians will join the official workout video, and athletes from around the world will lead live workouts at 11am local time across 20 time zones on Olympics and Olympic Channel Instagram accounts live.
Four badminton stars will also be involved.
Catch our star Olympians and join in on Instagram:
On This Day: Jorgensen Makes Europe Stand Tall in Indonesia
The prestigious Indonesia Open has a proud tradition and history that goes back to 1982.
It was however not until 2014 that spectators at the usually boisterous Istora Senayan witnessed a European lift the men’s singles title.
That honour went the way of Danish star Jan O Jorgensen, although victory did not come easy for the then 26-year-old, who despite winning in straight games, was made to slog for 44 minutes by Japanese rival Kenichi Tago.
An overwhelmed Jorgensen falling to the ground in tears of joy after clinching the final point remains an image of raw emotion forever etched in the competition’s folklore. Gracious in defeat, Tago, though sullen, offered Jorgensen his shirt and the pair exchanged an embrace.
“I can’t believe I’ve won the Indonesia Open,” Jorgensen exclaimed elatedly.
“It’s amazing. It’s by far the biggest achievement in my career. This means I’m one of the greats from Denmark.
“They didn’t think I was ready when Peter Gade retired (in 2012) but I showed I’m one of the contenders for the big titles.”
In ending Europe and Denmark’s long wait for glory on Indonesian soil, Jorgensen prolonged Japan’s craving to see their men’s singles shuttler reign supreme by a year. Kento Momota snapped that barren spell a few months later when he bested the Dane in a marathon 66-minute final.
Unfortunately for Europe, no shuttler has followed Jorgensen’s footsteps in winning what is now a Super 1000 event on the HSBC BWF World Tour.
Danish men made four of the next five finals – including Jorgensen who did it three times in a row – but were denied by Lee Chong Wei, Momota and Chou Tien Chen respectively.
One year after losing to Momota, Jorgensen could not outwit Lee while Viktor Axelsen failed to stop the Japanese marching to his second title in 2018. Last season, Anders Antonsen was beaten in the final by Chinese Taipei’s Chou.
For years, Mia Blichfeldt said, she was looking for something that would calm her down. She was someone who always wanted to do many things, and played badminton with the same restless energy.
Then she found knitting.
Knitting might now be synonymous with a retired life and as far away from the hustle of a badminton court as imaginable, but Blichfeldt has taken a fancy to it.
The Danish world No.18 turned to knitting during the lockdown in Denmark and now swears by it as a great tool to calm her mind – something that she always had trouble with, on and off the court. Having knitted a cardigan and even impressed her grandmother with it, Blichfeldt has no plans to stop.
“I started knitting, which is very cosy and makes me relaxed, because I’m a person who always wants to do a lot of stuff, and don’t want to take a break. So I think knitting is very good for my soul,” said the Dane, speaking on video call from Copenhagen.
The meditative quality of knitting, Blichfeldt believes, will help her calm herself down, and help with on-court focus.
“I have been trying for so many years to find something that makes me calm down and relaxed, so I feel like I can take a break now, when before I wanted to do many things, and get stuff done all the time. So now I just enjoy having an hour just sitting on my butt and doing this.
“I think knitting’s a very grandma (kind of thing)… I feel much older than those my age! I think it’s nice to do something that makes me relaxed.
“It’s actually my little sister who made me start, she was asking why I shouldn’t start it again as I was knitting when I was much younger. But I was like, oh, if I start, I don’t know if I will finish it. But now I have time to finish it, so that’s been quite nice. I have just finished doing a cardigan, and now I’m doing a pullover. So I have many projects.
“When I made the cardigan, that was quite good. My grandma was like, did you make this? She was quite proud of me, because she’s quite good at it. But I tried to challenge myself with the knitting, as I do with my badminton, because I’m a very competitive person. So I try to make it as hard as possible, and sometimes when knitting is not working, I get so angry, and I can feel the same feelings in my badminton, when I lose a match.”
Blichfeldt was initially upset when the Covid-19 pandemic forced the suspension of the circuit, but used the time in lockdown to recover from foot injuries and work on building a stronger mentality.
“I’m working a lot on my patience on court. Because sometimes it’s very easy for me to take my personality on court, so I play a little bit stupid and aggressive because I want to win so much. So I’m working very hard on putting my personality away from the court and trying to be more patient.
“I had some troubles with both my heels and that’s much better now. I haven’t felt any pain for six weeks. This period has been good for my injury.
“I spent a lot of time talking to my physical trainer and my psychologist, because it was important for me that I had to get the best out of this period, but also see myself after this period. I had to work on some things that could be improved in this time. So I have been working on mindfulness. I feel that when I’m in stressful situations, I don’t get sad or angry.”
The Danish team returned to training – with restrictions – and the time spent away from the game – it was her longest break from badminton since she started playing at the age of 9 – told Blichfeldt how much it meant to her.
“I missed it so much that it was just a relief to get back, and it didn’t feel like I hadn’t been playing in two months. So that was quite nice, and I think it’s that feeling that has been built inside of me, so when I got back on court I wanted to do my best and try everything that I hadn’t tried in two months,” said the 22-year-old.
The break also had the effect of making her look beyond the immediate future. In that sense, she says, the lockdown has forced players to consider life beyond the bubble they were used to.
“There have been many thoughts in my mind and also about the future and Mia after badminton. If I say that I have to live a life without badminton in 10 or 15 years… so I have been thinking a lot about education and my future. But I’m thankful that I have the opportunity now to do what I love and not have to stress about it.”
Tine Baun was an unusual sight in women’s singles.
Standing 181cm, Baun (nee Rasmussen) used her reach to tremendous effect. While her movement did appear ungainly at times, her long strides and steep attacking shots helped her become the premier European women’s singles player of her time, and one of the very few to challenge Chinese domination in her discipline.
In fact, it was Baun who showed the way for the rest of the world in the latter half of the 2000s.
Baun’s time coincided with that of greats like Xie Xingfang and Zhang Ning, and the rise of the next generation of Chinese like Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian, Wang Lin, Lu Lan, Wang Xin and Jiang Yanjiao.
While Baun did have her troubles against some of the top Chinese (Xie Xingfang, for instance, had a 10-1 record against her, while Wang Xin was 9-0), she did stitch up a creditable record against most of her top opponents.
At the Japan Open 2007 came her biggest success until that point, as the Dane beat several top Chinese in succession – Jiang Yanjiao, Zhang Ning, Lu Lan and Xie Xingfang.
Over the next few years, she would win other major events – but none would be as memorable as her final one, the All England in 2013. Having announced that she was headed for retirement, Baun set up a final with the much-younger Ratchanok Intanon after a thrilling semifinal victory over Sung Ji Hyun.
The final was another three-game affair, and it ended with Baun giving herself the perfect retirement gift – her third All England title.
All England – Winner (2008, 2010, 2013)
World Championships – Bronze (2010)
Japan Open – Winner (2007)
Other Major Honours
European Championships – Winner (2010, 2012)
Malaysia Open – Winner (2008)
Denmark Open – Winner (2009)
The last European before Tine Baun to win three (or more) All England women’s singles titles was Marjorie Barrett in 1926, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1931.
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All England 2013 Final 🇩🇰Tine Baun 🆚 Ratchanok Intanon🇹🇭
BWF Announces Updated Olympic and Paralympic Qualifying Regulations
Following last week’s announcement of a revamped tournament calendar for 2020, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) can outline the updated qualifying regulations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games scheduled to take place in Tokyo next year.
The priority was to ensure a fair solution to the disrupted qualification system in order to qualify players for the postponed Games. Both the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have approved the amendments.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said: “It has been a thorough process with the close and valuable consultation of the Athletes’ Commission to consider how best to make adjustments to the Olympic and Paralympic qualification system.
“We feel this is a fair solution for all athletes and it will be our first and main priority to conduct these tournaments as part of badminton and Para badminton’s adjusted return in the wake of COVID-19.
“Although we aim to resume international tournaments towards the end of 2020, we have chosen to resume the Olympic and Paralympic qualification process only in 2021 to ensure that travel restrictions and other related impacts of COVID-19 are limited.”
All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Olympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo ranking list.
An extended Olympic qualification period will be introduced from Week 1-17 in 2021 and includes the select number of tournaments that were postponed, cancelled or suspended due to COVID-19.
These eligible tournaments within the new qualifying period must be completed by Week 17 in 2021.
This approach has only been implemented for this singular team tournament impacted by the COVID-19 situation as no other team tournaments are included in the extended Olympic qualification period. However, players are offered a range of individual tournaments to enter.
A revised BWF Tournament Calendar 2021 with the actual dates for these eligible tournaments will be revealed later.
Only one tournament within the original Paralympic qualification period was cancelled due to COVID-19 – the Spanish Para Badminton International 2020.
It has now been included in the adjusted qualification system within a period from 1 January to 28 March 2021.
All ranking points earned at tournaments completed during the original Paralympic qualification period will be maintained under the Race to Tokyo Paralympic Ranking list. A date for the Spanish Para Badminton International will be announced in due process.
Lund added: “This change will allow players to complete their planned run for Paralympic qualification. It will also allow players to be able to live up to eligibility criteria as stated in the regulations, which is a minimum of three tournaments.”
BWF is still working on the exact model for the unfreezing of all world rankings in a staggered way to avoid any extreme drop off of points that would affect the ranking structure.
There are also ongoing considerations around the mandatory player regulations and other aspects of the BWF regulations, including new procedures for hosting international tournaments in the safest and most comfortable way for all participants.
A further announcement will be made once all circumstances have been carefully considered.
“Badminton is slow. Badminton is not physically challenging. Badminton is a hobby”. Let us dispel such myths for you.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist Marcus Ellis was recently put through his paces by the University of Westminster in London to debunk such badminton fiction.
Badminton at the top level is an extremely physically demanding game and one of the toughest sports to feature on the Olympic programme. It requires strength endurance, muscular power, agility, speed endurance, anaerobic power and a capacity game to accelerate and decelerate.
First up, is the BodPod test. A machine measuring your body composition covering volume and weight. It looks a bit like he’s about to be launched into space. He’s not. Ellis measured just four per cent body fat. That is one lean man. Four per cent body fat is comparable to that of a top long-distance cyclist or triathlete.
Measuring Ellis’s anaerobic fitness, he takes on the Windgate Test – a cycle test of anaerobic leg power, performed over 30 seconds. It’s a brutal one. Badminton players usually use anaerobic energy to fuel quick bursts of movement around the court, such as smashes and lunges.
After the 30-second test, Marcus measures 3.5 watts per kilo. Within five seconds, he has reached the peak power of that of an elite sprinter. Marcus trailed off halfway through the test, however, that’s consistent with his sport: quick bursts – reset – go again – reset.
So, he’s passed this one, too.
The penultimate test is the Counter-Movement Jump Test. A standing vertical jump. Now, you’d think a badminton player would be pretty good at this given the amount of time they spend smashing the shuttlecock? Well, you’d be right.
Marcus measures an incredible 51cm on the test. That’s phenomenally high. Compare that to a fencer (45cm) or a judo athlete (41cm). We predict he’d jump much higher in the right atmosphere; with a racket and a roaring crowd.
During lengthy matches, badminton players work aerobically using oxygen pumped around the body through the lungs and heart for high endurance exercise. VO2 max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake, is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilise during intense exercise.
Marcus is put on a treadmill for his final test and pushed to his limits to test his VO2 level. He gets to 15kph before he lifts himself off the treadmill after a gruelling run. Marcus topped 63 millilitres of oxygen consumed in one minute, per kilogram of body weight, comparable to that of top cyclists and marathon runners.
Marcus Ellis is clearly one of the fittest badminton players in the world. Not only capable of top sprinting speeds but also hardcore endurance to last those lengthy matches.
So, how does such an athlete maintain and improve his fitness during a pandemic? Watch out for Part II with Marcus Ellis later this week.
Indonesia’s performances at the Thomas Cup in the 1990s and early 2000s was one of the standout eras in badminton history. The Indonesians, having tasted defeat narrowly in the 1992 final to Malaysia, rebounded by beating the Malaysians at the next edition, and subsequently went on to win four successive titles.
Men’s doubles legend Rexy Mainaky, who was with four of those five Thomas Cup-winning teams, casts his mind back to his debut Thomas Cup in 1992, and through to his most emotional victory six years later.
A Well-Rounded Unit
The main reason for Indonesia’s great performances those days was the strength in singles and doubles; our coaches were also world class. In singles we had players like Ardy (Wiranata), Alan (Budikusuma), Hariyanto Arbi, Joko (Suprianto) and many others; in 2002, for example, Hendrawan played third singles for us! Then in doubles we had so many good players, such as Rudy Gunawan, Eddy Hartono, Bambang Suprianto, Ricky (Subagja), Candra Wijaya, Sigit Budiarto, and others.
Close Loss in Kuala Lumpur, 1992
We knew Malaysia were a strong team. China also were strong, but even they weren’t comfortable against Malaysia.
Those days, Malaysians were fanatical about badminton. Stadium Negara was massive, yet it used to be packed, there wasn’t any empty seat, especially when Malaysia played Indonesia in the final.
For me, it was the first time in the Thomas Cup. I had joined the national team in 1990, so it was less than two years. I played without feeling pressure, as I had nothing to lose.
A Foo Kong Keong Special
We knew that in Kuala Lumpur, especially in Stadium Negara, nobody could beat Rashid Sidek. Ardy (Wiranata, first singles) had a very slim chance to get a point against him, but Alan (Budikusuma, second singles) always beat Foo Kok Keong. If it went to the fifth match, we knew Joko was favourite against Kwan Yoke Meng.
After Ardy lost to Rashid, Rudy Gunawan and Eddy Hartono got us level after they won the first doubles against Razif and Jalani. Alan was favourite against Foo Kok Keong, but on that day, Kok Keong played out of this world and upset Alan.
Ricky and I had always lost to Cheah Soon Kit and Soo Beng Kiang. It was a close match, but we lost. It was disappointing, but Malaysia those days was very tough, so I cannot say we were deeply hurt.
Triumph in Jakarta, 1994
We were playing in Jakarta and we beat Malaysia in the final. We won the first three matches, so Ricky and I could not play the fourth match.
For sure it was an amazing atmosphere. We were out of this world, because I had always watched Rudy (Hartono) or Liem Swie King lift the Thomas Cup, and this time I lifted the cup. I cannot describe the feeling.
Difficult Circumstances, Hong Kong 1998
Indonesia won five Thomas Cup titles in a row, and I was with four of those teams. But the most emotional of those was in 1998, when we won the title in Hong Kong.
It wasn’t just about what happened on court. During that month in May, there was a lot of unrest in Indonesia. All the students in universities were protesting against the government, they wanted President Soeharto to step down.
There was some violence and naturally, all of us in the team were anxious. In fact, my wife was pregnant with our second child. We’d almost decided to not play the Thomas Cup final.
However, our chef-de-mission, Agus Wirahadikusuma, who held a senior position in the army, convinced us that we had to show to the world that Indonesia is a strong country. He assured us that our families would be safe. He took all our addresses and directed his men back home, in plainclothes, to provide security for our families.
‘We Fought Like Hell’
Once he did that, we were all at peace and stopped worrying. We all fought like hell. We wanted to show to the crowd and to the world that that Indonesia is a strong country, with a strong mentality, despite what the country was going through.
It was emotional for all of us. When we went to podium to receive the trophy, we wrapped the flag around us and we sang the anthem out loud, and we were all crying.
When we’d left Jakarta for Hong Kong, we’d actually been invited to the Presidential office by Soeharto; when we returned a couple of weeks later, BJ Habibie was president.
The situation in Indonesia had calmed down. Everyone in Indonesia was behind us and we all felt like one. When we went back, we went around the city, and everybody was cheering for us.
A Time to Create Music, for Teen Talent Lauren Lam
For a player who is still in her early days of elite competition, Lauren Lam already misses the atmosphere of the circuit.
The 17-year-old from the USA is among the youngest to compete on the World Tour – she was 15 when she played Super 300 events in Barcelona, Chinese Taipei, Macau and Gwangju in 2018. An understudy of senior pro Beiwen Zhang, Lam was in two semifinals at her last event – the K&D Graphics International Challenge, and had a busy schedule this year before the pandemic put paid to her plans. But it has also given her the time to spend time on another passion – music.
“I miss training and I really miss getting on court and tournaments, and all of that,” the California-based player says. “The first week of lockdown I stopped training, I was watching some old videos and looking back at the memories and how much I’ve grown. I missed that atmosphere at the tournaments, the pressure and the stress.
“At the beginning of the year, I did the whole year’s plan. I was going to train in various places when I went overseas and then play tournaments there, it was all settled. So when this pandemic hit, it was frustrating because I had spent so much time on planning my schedule and all of a sudden it’s gone. I feel very jealous because in some Asian countries they’re allowed to train, I wish I could be training with them.”
While the lockdown has affected her training and tournament schedule, she is thankful for the time it has given her to reflect on her game, besides preparing for her SAT tests and composing music.
“The good thing is that I can take time off to reflect on my badminton game, and that before the pandemic I was stressed about the SAT, which is a major test that is required to get you into US colleges. I was going to take that in March but since the pandemic started, it got cancelled, so that gave me much more time to study more and do more of my homework.
“I have a lot of free time, so I’m producing my music. I’m in the process of composing some songs. As soon as this quarantine is over, I will go to a studio and record it.”
As an independent player, Lam is used to being in charge of her workout regimen, but as she has no access to a court or a gym, she has made the best use of available space and resources, turning her garage into a workout space.
“I barely had any equipment. I had only a treadmill. I needed more training equipment, and I bought an exercise bike, and before the lockdown started on the last day of training, I asked my coach if I could borrow some stuff from the gym, so I got a lot of bands, balance equipment, weights. At home I do a variety of bodyweight, balance and muscle endurance exercises and cardio. I try to have at least two sessions a day.
“Most of my training is at home, but I go out twice a week to get as much outdoors running as I can. Running on the treadmill is different from running outside, and I just think I need a different scenario while training. I go to a local park. It’s pretty big and peaceful, so I just run around there, and I just find the sand boxes, and I sneak in and get as much training as possible.
“I have a workout buddy I train with. Since when I was in Asia or training with Beiwen (Zhang), and my trainers in Asia would teach me different exercises, and when I’m outside or working with my workout buddy, I remember those exercises.”
As for the badminton, Lam contents herself with a few drills.
“The most I can do is forecourt footwork at home and just swinging my racket, and hitting against the wall.”
Having been forced off the game for a few weeks now, Lam reckons she will be more appreciative of it when the circuit begins again.
“Maybe I will look at it differently in a good way, it’s kind of like a signal for me, a reminder for me to cherish every moment more than I did, because there’s only so much time you have in badminton.”
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Spanish Badminton Federation (FESBA) can confirm the BWF World Championships traditionally scheduled for August 2021 will now take place at the end of 2021 from Monday 29 November to Sunday 5 December.
The move will allow the BWF World Championships in Huelva, Spain to shine brightly in what will be a condensed sports calendar.
BWF and FESBA had already opened discussions with tournament hosts to stage the championships later in the year to ensure ultimate success of the event for players, their entourage and fans.
The decision to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to 23 July to 8 August and 24 August until 5 September 2021 only confirmed this move.
The new schedule will allow players to have a clear focus for 2021 in which they will have dual objectives of both the Olympic Games and World Championships.
BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said changing the BWF World Championships to late November was in the best interests of the sport.
“BWF and Spanish Badminton Federation are confident that the rescheduled championships will be a success. The move allows both the Olympic badminton competition and the World Championships to be conducted with equal fairness for everyone,” Høyer said.
FESBA President David Cabello added: ”We hope the World Championships in Huelva will be a special occasion for badminton in Spain and the world.
”We are satisfied that moving the championships to the end of the year will allow us to deliver the best tournament possible.”