by Mack Laney
If all of the table tennis balls and paddles were suddenly vaporized from the face of the planet, China would still be left with a worthy alternative in terms of a treasured national sport: badminton. A game that has often been misconstrued as girly child's play, the sport actually demands "rigorous discipline, agility, and concentration", according to Gao Jing Hao, Senior Coach for the badminton team at his company in Beijing.
Wee! Yay! Houpla! Badmington!
"I first started playing badminton when I didn't make the cut for the National Youth Football League," Gao says. Yet, this doesn't make badminton a second rate sport, he assures. "I feel that I'm lucky because I don't have to worry about serious injuries while I'm playing sport. I've only suffered one serious badminton injury recorded to date. That was back in 1998. I was playing singles with a friend of mine on the sidewalk. As I swung to return one of his screwdriver serves, I accidentally pummeled an elderly woman walking by. So really, that doesn't count, because I wasn't actually injured."
Badminton is a game of great skill and it is also good exercise. Although the sport originated in the United Kingdom, it has evolved to great heights through the tenacious reverie of Chinese enthusiasts. Since its introduction 1992 Olympics as a competitive event, China has consistently won the gold medal in several categories. Donning their sweatbands and gymshorts, badminton athletes all over China exude a forceful energy to be reckoned with. So make sure to clear the way if you see the birdie coming (especially you, Grandma).