The prestigious Australian Badminton Open, one of only twelve Superseries Events sanctioned by the World Badminton Federation, will be staged in Australia from 7-12 June, 2016.
NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres said: “This is the first international launch this year for the Australian Badminton Open and provides the ideal platform to raise awareness for the event and attract Chinese visitors to our State. Secured for Sydney by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, the Open makes a huge contribution to the local visitor economy, and showcases Sydney and NSW throughout Asia.”
Badminton Australia Board Member and Tournament Director Loke Poh Wong said: “Sydney remains one of the most popular tournaments on the World Badminton circuit. The players love visiting Sydney and after the success of the 2014 tournament many bought their families with them this year and extended their time in the country. For them it’s a nice change of pace to be able to explore a city in relative anonymity – all of the big name players would be mobbed in their home countries where they have a pop star status and lifestyle, It’s exciting for us to now be taking the ABO to China to be able to give locals a taste of what they can expect if they come to Sydney for the tournament.”
Top-ranked Australian women doubles player Gronya Somerville, Australia's President and BWF Vice-President Geraldine Brown, Australian Government representative Jennifer Tung and officials from both the Australian and Chinese Badminton Associations, representatives from major media companies and some of China’s biggest travel agents will all attend the launch event in Shanghai.
“This year the Australian Badminton Open was on par with Olympic and World Championship standard which is a coup for Australia where we are still an emerging sport. We had more than 300 players from 31 countries competing, and for the first time this included the current world #1 of every discipline, with all of the top 20 men’s singles taking part in the event,” added Loke Poh Wong.
The special launch event will be held in the Jackie Chan Film Gallery which houses an Avenue of Stars, a gallery for movie art, and Chan’s own movie studio, and is a well-known tourist site in China.
“Jackie Chan’s popularity in China is enormous, and we believe this association offers us huge potential to spread the word on the ABO tournament to the Chinese market. We will be sharing travel deals and other information that is all aimed at attracting more of the Chinese market to Australia for the ABO,” said Paul Brettell, Chief Executive Officer of Badminton Australia.
A rising star of Australian badminton Gronya Somerville has further strengthened The Australian Badminton Open ties with China and the Jackie Chan museum by being chosen to narrate the recently released Dragon Footprints along with Australian soccer star Tim Cahill.
Dragon Footprints is a new documentary film on Jackie Chan, which has recently won the Best Documentary Award for charity mission at the 7th International Chinese Film Festival (ICFF) in Sydney.
Australian born Gronya is well-known on the world badminton tour for badminton prowess and her famous ancestry; she is the great granddaughter of Kang Youwei, a renowned Chinese scholar, calligrapher and political reformer who rose to prominence during the late Qing Dynasty. With Australia remaining her home base, Gronya has a massive following in China and she has also been named the face of a leading Chinese sporting brand.
Gronya is Australia’s #1 women’s doubles player (together with Setyana Mapasa), with the duo also the Oceania Champions and strong contenders to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics
In China badminton is a national sport with a massive following of more than 100 million, with the help of the Australian Badminton Open tournament and their School clinic initiative badminton’s popularity in Australia continues to grow year on year.