These stalwarts refused to concede ground when they were up against each other in the prime of their careers, but things were far more relaxed during a a media interaction ahead of some exhibition matches. Their visit to the country could not have been better timed, given Indian badminton itself is enjoying a purple patch here.
“Indian badminton is witnessing major evolution and we need the broader public to know about these players, not only as players but as stars,” said Gade, winner of the All-England Championships in 1999, with reference to the current exploits of the likes of PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth.
Srikanth, who has won four Super Series titles this year, said recently that the days of Lin Dan and Chong Wei’s dominance are probably over with the emergence of a new crop of extremely talented players, but Gade chose to stay guarded, saying that the duo along with Olympic champion Chen Long could still give the others a run for their money. “It’s a very exciting period for men’s singles and hopefully we will see some great matches and stiff fights,” he said.
No sport is complete without memorable rivalries, something that one saw whenever Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei faced off. But given recent results on the global circuit, the game looks a lot more open now. Chong Wei feels there are hopes for similar rivalries going forward, and he believes if all goes well, the current top-ranked men’s player Viktor Axelsen and Japan’s Kento Momota could set up some riveting contests in future.
While more players -both in the men’s and women’s side –are thriving on the world stage currently , China’s relative decline as a badminton powerhouse has not gone unnoticed.
Source : timesofindia