The world of badminton would be even more interesting with more players from the Middle East competing at the international level.
The popularity of badminton in some Middle Eastern countries has improved in recent years. There are developments going on in the region, which may help put badminton players from the Middle East on the map. For example, Dubai aims at becoming a global badminton hub, according to this message on the UAE Badminton Federation website.
In this story, we dive deeper into the state of badminton in the Middle East.
Badminton in the Middle East – countries covered
For the purpose of this article, the following countries are considered to be part of the Middle East. They are all currently organized under the Badminton Asia umbrella.
– Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
– United Arab Emirates (UAE), which includes Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and all other emirates
In badminton respect, countries such as Egypt, Turkey, and Cyprus are organized under Badminton Africa and Badminton Europe.
If BWF wants badminton to grow in MEA, change the structure
As mentioned, the Middle East region is organized under Badminton Asia. To us that does not make sense.
If BWF would like to see significant growth in the Middle East, which culturally is different from most Asian countries, a new structure is needed. One in which countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are organized under one umbrella. Badminton in the Middle East deserves focus and resources to develop the sport in the region.
Where are the badminton hotspots in the Middle East?
With UAE’s recent announcement to become a global badminton hub, it is likely that Dubai will develop into a regional hotspot for badminton.
Certainly, Dubai and neighboring Abu Dhabi already have a number of advantages. Good badminton, transportation, and communication infrastructure already exist. Add to that the significant Asian expatriate population residing in UAE. Nearly 50% of the UAE population – or around 4.5 million people – are from India, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
What’s more, the goal for UAE badminton is to qualify an Emirati player for the Olympics by 2028. This will require some heavy lifting in terms of popularizing the sport in the country – in particular amongst the 1.1 million Emiratis.
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Getting women involved with badminton in the Middle East
In many countries in the Middle East mixing men and women for sports might not be allowed.
Badminton matches in heavily air-conditioned halls
Climatically, badminton players in many countries in the Middle East might be challenged in the summer months when temperatures outside surpass 40 degrees celsius.