Badminton is a sport that is played by striking a shuttlecock with a racket over a net. It is usually played by 2 players (singles) or 4 players (doubles). It is casually played outdoors in parks, in the beach, or even just outside the backyard. Formal games on the other hand are played indoors on a rectangular court with a net. Players score by landing the shuttlecock to the opponent’s side of the court. Although it seems like an easy sport, it requires agility, speed, strength and precision. It also requires good motor coordination and mastering the racket movements.
The modern badminton played today is a variant of the mid-19th century British game “battledore and shuttlecock”, where battledore is an older term for racket.
Badminton has been part of the Summer Olympic Sports since 1992. There are 5 events to compete with – men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles. The highest governing body for this sport is the Badminton World Federation.
The Malaysia National Badminton team plays for the country in international competitions. The men’s and women’s teams have brought immense success in the Thomas Cup, Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup competetions. Penang has produced most of the singles champions in the country.
The most recognised singles badminton player is Datuk Lee Chong Wei who was born in George Town and resides in Bukit Mertajam. He won the silver medal in the 2008 Olympic Games. He was the first Malaysian to reach the finals of the men’s singles event and was ranked first worldwide on 21st August 2008. This has earned him the title Datuk and was hailed as national hero. Despite his ranking, Lee is yet to win his first Olympic Games and World Championship titles.
Penangites enjoy playing badminton either for leisure or competitions. As such, there are many badminton schools and sports complexes that have badminton courts.
Such schools include the Badminton International Penang in Jalan Gelugur, KF Badminton Academy in Jalan Ibbetson and the Karpal Singh Penang Learning Centre in Jalan Kaki Bukit and many more.
Where to play badminton in Penang?
The Permata Sports Complex in Farlim, Air Itam has a total of 9 badminton courts. Due to public demand, it is open until 1 o’clock in the morning. Reservation is recommended as the courts are usually fully booked. There are rackets for rent and shuttlecocks for sale.
The Penang Badminton Association manages the Penang Badminton Centre in Bukit Dumbar. There is also a shop selling badminton rackets and clothes. It also offers stringing services and has in-house trainers for those who want to compete in tournaments.
WRC Sports Enterprise has converted one of the halls in PESTA into a badminton court. It is owned by Ong Ewe Chye, an ex-national player. They hold badminton championship games every year during the PESTA Pulau Pinang affair, which draws players from around the country.
The YMCA has a small badminton court for its guests and members. There is also a shop next to it selling badminton and sports apparels.
Many sports clubs have badminton courts like the Chinese Recreation Club in Padang Victoria, and the Penang Sports Club. Most of these are exclusively for their members.
Most of the schools and universities in Penang have badminton facilities for their students. Many private apartments and condominiums also have courts for their residents.