I Saw Some of the Top Badminton Players in the World Play!! Woot!

China has several national teams and they have a national series. It’s called the China Badminton Super League (CBSL) and my friends Xiao He, Rebecca and I watched the top two teams fight it out. For you Americans,  it was like the NBA playoffs and I got to see The Lakers and Miami Heat compete. (They are still the two cool teams right? I’m a bit behind on my basketball these days.)

Anyway, the Xiamen team has the highest number of Olympians and World Champions and their opponent, the Qingdao team, has the second most, including the most famous player of all, Lin Dan. (He used to be #1 but has fallen in recent years, but his fame has not fallen at all.)

So who did I see? World ranking is at time of writing

#1 women’s doubles team: Twin sisters Luo Ying and Luo Yu kicking the ass of the Xiamen team.

2012 Olympic gold winner Li Xuerui (currently ranked #3 in the world)  playing 2012 Olympic silver medalist Wang Yihan (Ranked #4 in the world) in women’s singles

In men’s doubles it was Hong Wei (ranked 5th in men’s doubles) and Zhang Nan (ranked #1 in mixed doubles and #3 in men’s doubles) against some other guys. Seriously Zhang Nan was so super hot I didn’t even notice the other players except they were short and stout and stood no chance. Also, I have a new celebrity crush. Zhang Nan’s pictures on the internet are good (he made my list of hot players), but he had some sexy little haircut and looked a million times hotter in person. Not an exaggeration. A million times hotter.

Bao Yixin (world ranking #3 in mixed doubles) also played both the mixed doubles and the women’s doubles.

So who wasn’t there? There were three big absences. Lin Dan (who canceled due to illness), Chen Long, currently the #1 guy in the world and plays for team Xiamen and Zhao Yunlei, my favorite female player who is also team Xiamen (and is married to the hottie Zhang Nan.) Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei are not only the #1 mixed doubles team (my fav category) but they won the gold medal in 2012. But they recently had to bow out of the World Superseries Finals in Dubai because she was injured. So I guess it’s not better yet.

I could talk all day about it, but I think it would be more fun to show some pictures instead:

Lin Dan

Lin Dan

Lin Dan wasn’t there, but there was some ad’s with him we sexually harassed. Cootchi-coo Lin Dan!

 

China Badminton leauge

The court was just like I see on TV. Filled up the whole center of the gym and looked so shiny and exciting.

They had the worst cheerleaders come out and bounce around for a few minutes to Taylor Swift's "Shake if off." It was hilariously terrible.

They had the worst cheerleaders come out and bounce around for a few minutes to Taylor Swift’s “Shake if off” before the players came out.  It was hilariously terrible. We had normal seats across from the VIP seats so everything was done facing the opposite direction (where the camera’s were too).

 

The two teams came out and after a brief introduction (including their accolades) we all stood facing the Chinese flag and listened to the national anthem. All that was missing was the "play ball!" at the end.

The two teams came out and after a brief introduction (including their accolades) we all stood facing the Chinese flag and listened to the national anthem. All that was missing was the “play ball!” at the end. (Also, the other side soon filled up, it wasn’t so empty the whole time. This picture makes it looks unattended, but it was probably 80% filled, just the top seats were empty.)

Each seat had these free blow up things that you clap together to cheer the players. Most couldn't handle the vigorous shaking and broke halfway through. Mine lasted the whole time, but I got tired of constantly banging them together.

Each seat had these free blow up things that you clap together to cheer the players. Most couldn’t handle the vigorous shaking and broke halfway through. Mine lasted the whole time, but I got tired of constantly banging them together.

 

This was being shown live on CCTV 5! ?(The national sports channel.) I got to see where all the cameras were positioned and how they got all the shots. I especially liked the stalkerish camera guys on the backdrop against the wall.

This was being shown live on CCTV 5! (The national sports channel.) I got to see where all the cameras were positioned and how they got all the shots I see when I watch games on TV. I especially liked the stalkerish camera guys on the backdrop against the wall.

 

The game was being live broadcast and they had a giant TV screen showing the TV channel. The cameras were set up across the court from us so when they focused on one team we you could see us! We were on TV a lot and my friends friend (who was at home watching) saw us! (ot was pretty easy to spot us as I was the only blond in the place, ha!)

The game was being live broadcast and they had a giant TV screen showing the TV feed. The cameras were set up across the court from us so when they focused on one team you could see us! We were on TV a lot and my friend’s friend (who was at home watching) saw us! (It was pretty easy to spot us as I was the only blond in the place, lol.) Another interesting thing was when they TV station would re-show a shot in slo-mo, a few of the players would turn and watch it.

 

We were only one row away from the court so we could see pretty good and could watch them every time they took a break and talked to the coach.

We were only one row away from the court so we could see clearly and could watch them every time they took a break and talked to the coach.

 

I didn't take many shots during the game because the action was fast and my camera (aka my phone) isn't made for those kind of speed shots. But when Zhang Nan came out with his teammate, I couldn't not take pictures of him.

I didn’t take many shots during the game because the action was fast and my camera (aka my phone) isn’t made for those kind of speed shots. But when Zhang Nan came out with his teammate, I couldn’t not take pictures of him.

 

*Drool* And I swear he looked over at where we were sitting once.

*Drool* And I swear he looked over at where we were sitting once. Maybe he noticed me!

They had a "audience wrangler" who would walk around and get people to shout out the names of the Xiamen player and say "jia you!" (An encouraging cheer.) It was fun the first, say, 2 dozen times. Then I got tired of shouting "jia you" and banging my blow up things together,

They had a “audience wrangler” (in white) who would walk around and get people to shout out the names of the Xiamen player and say “jia you!” (An encouraging cheer.) It was fun the first, say, 2 dozen times. Then I got tired of shouting “jia you” and banging my blow up things together.

 

What's the staff of the USS Enterprise doing here? Oh wait, that's just team Xiamen's unforms. They were the lucky ones, as the Qingdao team had the ugliest bright blue with neon pink stripes. I'm an 80's kid and even I wouldn't have worn that on my worst day (and I used to like neon). Seriously, why can they not make a good looking badminton uniform?!

What’s the staff of the USS Enterprise doing here? Oh wait, that’s just team Xiamen’s unforms. They were the lucky ones, as the Qingdao team had the ugliest bright blue with neon pink stripes. I’m an 80’s kid and even I wouldn’t have worn that on my worst day (and I used to like neon). Seriously, why can they not make a good looking badminton uniform?!

The games were much longer than I expected. Almost five hours total. A long time to sit and watch. Even worse, they confiscated food and drink before you went it. Normal tactic to get you to buy their overprices concessions, right? WRONG! There was No snacks, No drinks, NO gift stand with silly items (which I wanted to buy). Nothing. Just some water coolers out in the hallway with plastic cups you could drink for free.

 

The long empty hallways had water coolers, with little plastic cups. Why not cheap crap to buy?!

The long empty hallways had water coolers, with little plastic cups. (and a garbage bag for the blow up clappers.) Why no cheap crap to buy?!

 

So I got hangry. It’s not pretty when I’m hangry. I mean, what self respecting sports arena doesn’t sell overpriced popcorn and hot dogs?! I had a fistful of kuai ready to spend on birdie keychains and a mug with Lin Dan’s face on it. But there was nuthin. NUTHIN! What a waste….

I haven’t been to a ton of professional sports games in my life, mostly just of Red Sox games and one NBA game, and usually pay very little attention to what is happening on the field just enjoying the atmosphere and pomp of the event. But this was totally different. There was hardly and pomp or atmosphere at the event and I tried to keep a laser focus on the games and player (paying attention to their legwork, how they held their racket, trying to figure out their strategies).

My friends were also perfect to go with because one knew a lot about the players and their styles and the other was just as interested as me. We weren’t sitting around playing on our phones, or gossiping about what-not. We were paying attention and talking about the game (or sometimes not even talking as we just watched.) My friend Xiao He kept cheering for the Qingdao team (on Xiamen’s turf!) and someone nearby joked that security was gonna kick him out. I was team Xiamen all the way.

Xiamen won, 4 out of the 5 games. (They only lost women’s doubles, which is okay considering the Qingdao team is the #1 ranked team in the world right now. Also, after one game Xiamen conceded “due to injury” but everyone was walking and moving fine, and all smiles as they left the court, so we think the injury was just BS to avoid a certain defeat.)

So, while watching the games for five hours got a bit tiring, it was still an excellent opportunity to see so many amazing badminton hero’s play in front of me. Can’t wait for my next one!

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.