MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Glow-in-the-dark badminton entices players back onto court


With neon lights on the floor and walls, pulsing electronic beats, and a glowing red shuttlecock bouncing back and forth, this Kuala Lumpur badminton court evokes a sci-fi movie set.

"Shuttle in the Dark", a badminton hall in the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in the city centre, was set up in late 2021 by a sports management company to encourage people to take up the racquet sport after two years of social restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Our initial goal was how can we encourage and gain back the interest of people to come back and play," said Irina Inozemtseva, director of Inic Sport Management.

"Not only those enthusiasts, but then as well, the new people who were not able to or never played badminton before."

Playing in a futuristic court presents an unusual challenge for athletes as they have to adjust their eyes to the darkness to play, said professional badminton coach, Lee Yan Sheng.

"With the lighting, somehow we are still able to hit it and then it requires better focus. And it's exciting, it's different but it's still like playing normal (badminton)," professional player Ho Yen Mei said.

Open to athletes of all levels, Shuttle in the Dark charges RM180 per hour to use the courts and rent their neon equipment. A regular public court charges about RM20.

Badminton is one of the most popular sports in Malaysia and Asia, with a thriving community in the Southeast Asian country, which has produced some of the world's top-ranked players.

- Reuters

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