Sunsets Kuopio festival, the largest outdoor sport and entertainment event in Finland, hosted the first AirBadminton tournament last week.
The event was conducted in collaboration with Badminton Finland and Savon Sulka Club.
More than 60 players from all over Finland participated in the three-day tournament, which showcased 108 exciting matches in all categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, and the new triples format.
The event allowed BWF to test various elements of the new game, as well as providing the management and operations team with hands-on experience of running an AirBadminton competition. The experience will be useful in future collaborations with local partners to ensure smooth operations in other countries.
For most participants, it was their first experience of AirBadminton. However, they quickly adapted to the outdoor conditions and were taken in by the sport.
“I enjoyed the experience very much – especially the triples event as it was different, but fun. I hope that many more AirBadminton tournaments are organised in the future as we love badminton and we love being outdoors during summer,” said Marikki Pitkänen from Turku, one of the tournament participants.
For the tournament’s finals, players were able to compete on the festival’s main stage in front of hundreds of spectators, who enjoyed the proceedings.
BWF Development Director Ian Wright was enthused by the response to the event.
“We are very pleased to have delivered this event in Finland. It was a challenging mission as it was the first AirBadminton tournament organised, but local hosts put great effort into make this event a reality. On the courts, the matches were of great quality, played at high speed and with new tactics due to the outdoor environment.
“We have also received encouraging feedback from participants, which helps us to keep improving various aspects of the game.”
Mika Heinonen, Badminton Finland’s General Secretary, believes AirBadminton can attract a new following even for the conventional sport played indoors.
“The tournament was a great success for Badminton Finland and badminton in Kuopio. I believe AirBadminton will have even greater success in the countries that don’t have badminton halls. It will also be a very good opportunity for all countries to attract more players to play our sport and become club members if they want to get deeper into badminton.
“If you can do AirBadminton in Finland, you can do it everywhere!”