Rio '16

On the gray screen I read the heads of the news. Google news. Imogen Bankier. The Scotsman. Everything's steering on the Olympics, she says, and the Worlds in between. She hopes after England to realize her potential in Scotland.
A flash of the first badminton olympics before my eyes. 1996. Being there was the most important, for the athletes. Playing for a better world. Brotherhood between athletes. And of course also between the rest of the world. For badminton, except for some top Asian badminton states. They knew already the impact of winning large tournaments, looking through all the big words, sensation, and promises of a beautiful world to which the olympics would contribute. They went for the winning and the annals.

The badminton world changed. And grew at one end. Everywhere round the world appeared programs to develop the badminton. At numerous spots arose "schools" and "academies". An army of young people who all learned to play in the same way developed. Hearing them about their plans, all these youngsters seem to strive for the only important goal, the Olympics. They all have a program for Rio '16. Some for ...'20.

Also, in the nineties, top players took two or three moments a year to deliver a top performance, more physically not being possible. Then, after the super series started off, through the year eight or ten times were asked by the organizers. Now suspicious astonishment arise in the badminton world as Chinese and other players on tournaments are slowing down before the Worlds in August. Though, as coach Sibun of Malaysia laughs: of course they do. They have to prepare!, he says. So, that's a little bit to much. But preparing for one performance in four years? That seems a little few.

The hands of politics have taken it over now. According to politics, the world has to be globalized. And economized. And for the badminton that road goes from world to continent to country to national badminton federation. For the money and recognition, the national badminton federations are dependent on national sports bodies, which are dependent on national politics, which are dependent on international politics.

When a national federation not seems to be able to deliver medals at Rio, their money goes abruptly to a federation, eventually of few sports value, that could honour the politics. Diversity in sports, education by sports, reliability for plans don't count any longer. It's now about politics.

And the athletes? Sometimes you hear the shocked complaints. It is a peculiar contrast. The increasingly independent athletes opposite the worldwide depend making politics. It's not any longer about them. It's now about politics. Is it?

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