Dongguan, south China’s Guangdong Province, expects to increase the mass appeal of badminton while forging a vibrant city image by hosting the Sudirman Cup next year.
The 2015 Sudirman Cup, the mixed-team badminton world championships, will take place at Dongguan’s new 16,000-seat Dongfeng Nissan Sports Entertainment Center from May 10 through 17. The event will attract players from more than 50 countries and regions to compete for the prestigious team title, organizers said on October 9.
The biennial tournament, which features two teams squaring off in men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed-doubles matches in each elimination round, will return to China for the fourth time since first being held in China in 2005, in Beijing.
Boasting a deep talent pool, China has won the elite title nine times to become the most successful nation in Sudirman Cup history since the tournament began in 1989.
Dongguan, a fast-growing city near the provincial capital of Guangzhou, couldn’t be a better host for the tournament, said Deputy Mayor Yu Lijun.
“Badminton has always been a popular sport at the grassroots level in Dongguan. The hosting of international events like the Sudirman Cup will further boost public enthusiasm for the sport and encourage more people to get involved,” she said.
“Meanwhile, we also expect to build a vibrant and healthy city image for Dongguan by promoting mass fitness programs as well as amateur badminton events.”
Dongguan used to be haunted by prostitution and drug dealing till the government eradicated them at the beginning of 2014.
The city government said that about 500,000 amateurs playing badminton on a regular basis, and the city has 1,535 badminton courts.
More than 500 company and governmental department teams compete annually in more than 600 matches of grassroots leagues.
Since 2008, the city has raised 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) as a training fund for 13,000 amateur players.
In 2013, the local Century City Badminton Club signed a star cast that included Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Chinese doubles pair Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, and won the 2013-14 Chinese Badminton Super League in May.
The organizing committee also launched a competition to design for event motto, emblem and mascot on October 9 and is offering total prize money of 75,000 yuan for the winning designs, which will be announced at the end of the year.