China Open brings dreams, enthusiasm for badminton to Changzhou
Published: Sep 10, 2023 08:38 PM
Viktor Axelsen wins the men's singles at the China Open on September 10, 2023. Photo: VCG

Viktor Axelsen wins the men's singles at the China Open on September 10, 2023. Photo: VCG

As the world champion, Danish player Viktor Axelsen won the final at the men's singles by defeating Chinese player Lu Guangzu, the curtain finally closed on the 2023 China Open in Changzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province. The winners, including men's doubles champion Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang and women's double champion Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, will now divide the $2,000,000 in total prize money up for offer, the biggest prize money offer for the season calendar besides the BWF World Tour Finals.

As a BWF World Tour Super 1000 event, the China Open attracted the world's top 15 singles players and top 10 doubles pairs. Asian shuttlers used the tournament to train and adjust their form in preparation for the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

Although the world's top stars, like Viktor Axelsen, Shi Yuqi and Tai Tzu-ying, captured people's absolute attention at each match, I found that the spectators attending the event also showed great enthusiasm for badminton as a whole and the way the players were willing to give their all to chase their dreams.

During the matches before the finals, a single ticket, starting from 80 yuan ($10.90) or two cups of Starbucks coffee, gave spectators access to one of the world's top badminton tours. Before entering the Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre, I was asked by several local badminton fans for extra tickets as locals have a strong enthusiasm for badminton, which is why tickets were so hard to get. 

Changzhou hosted the China Open in 2018 and 2019. In 2022, the city won the hosting rights for the tournament again for 2023-26. Why do the Super 1000 events so favor this city?

I found the answer from two students sitting next to me, who went to see the games with their school coach. Both of them started to play badminton at age 5 and now have classes every week at school and during the weekend, they said, adding that their parents and other family members all love sports and have given them great support. 

"My sister is practicing ping-pong, but I like badminton, which is so cool," said the 10-year-old boy surnamed Li, who recalled that back in 2019, he had the chance to see top players Lin Dan and Kento Momota. 

From the masters matches to public games, the China Open has produced a profound impact on the development of amateur badminton in Changzhou. Since the tournament was held in 2008, the public's enthusiasm for participating in badminton has become increasingly high. Badminton has been promoted through events that has seen world champions enter campuses to interact with enthusiasts. 

According to statistics, the number of amateur badminton enthusiasts in Changzhou has exceeded 60,000 and coveres different age groups after years of development. Currently, the city has more than 1,100 standard badminton courts and nearly 80 regular badminton clubs thanks to the China Open, which not only helps increase the city's sport infrastructure, but also cultivates a large number of badminton enthusiasts. 

According to a survey, 92 percent of those surveyed believe that the China Open has had a positive effect on the development of badminton in Changzhou.