(Photo: Badminton Europe)
If Europe grows stronger, we can grow stronger
Date: 1/28/2021 1:49 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
In a week where we have 30 per cent of the qualifiers at the BWF World Tour Finals hailing from Europe, we reflect on the new initiative that aims to promote collaboration between European Member Associations (MAs) towards improvements in all areas of badminton.

Badminton Europe has worked on creating a new and fresh Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with each Member Association. Many MAs are already on board, including Denmark, who have been a powerhouse of European badminton for a number of decades one of the first to sign. 

-We find the initiative from Badminton Europe very interesting and secondly Badminton Denmark is very committed to participate in the development of the European badminton community, said Bo Jensen, CEO of Badminton Denmark. 

Badminton Denmark believes that they can contribute to the European badminton community in several topics. Outlining these, Bo Jensen elaborates. 

First of all in high performance, but also in fan engagement, marketing, branding and making a stronger commercial platform. However, the most important topic for us is to participate in a contribution to the high performance development. It can be on several levels. It can be on an individual level or combined training when our players a partaking in World Tour tournaments with other European players. 

The high performance element mentions builds upon an initiative already set in motion by Badminton Europe under the World Class Project. You can read more about this here

Stronger high performance
Denmark, a country of just under six million, have thus far contributed much of their successes to the development they do internally. Asked why should a country like Denmark, already producing top players, be open to cross-border collaboration, Bo Jensen explains in detail. 

-What we do at the National Elite Training Centre is we focus on the absolute best players in Denmark. We have on a daily basis 25-30 players. For many of the sub-elite players who have ambitions in the future to be part of the centre, we need a stronger high performance level in the European badminton community, so that they can travel to tournaments inside Europe and have sufficient competition to help them further develop skills to be better players. 

- For these sub-elite players, we have to send these players to tournaments in Asia, which is expensive and takes a lot of time. So, it would be much better if there would be a high elite level inside Europe. 

We are not afraid of the competition 
In addition, as one of the leaders in European badminton, Badminton Denmark sees the bigger global picture that an initiative like this player a key role in. 

-We feel that it is an obligation we have as one of the powerhouses of the world-wide badminton community. We could do this by ourselves for years to come, but Badminton Denmark believes that if badminton is to become a global sport, we need to have a strong European community and if we can contribute to that, it would be very satisfying for us. 

- We are not afraid of the competition from the other European members. On contrary, if Europe grows stronger, we can grow stronger and together we can be a strong opponent to many of the Asian Member Associations. 

Responsibility for the future
An MoU is a legally non-binding agreement that outlines details of a mutual understanding which highlights each side’s requirements and responsibilities. Bo Jensen of Badminton Denmark emphasises that we are all in it together to protect generation to come. 

-One of our main focuses is on the top elite players, but we also have responsibility for the future, for the development of junior players and other talented players. If we can do that in a combined effort from the European badminton community, that would be perfect, and we would be happy to contribute. 

Bo Jensen gives a final word of encouragement to all MAs, highlights the benefits that come with the signing of the MoU. 

-It’s a good way to get a better understanding of your weakness, your threats, your opportunities and your possibilities for future development. Secondly, it helps you to get a more structured and organised way for the future development. You can focus on selected areas and in cooperation with Badminton Europe and the other Member Associations work on these areas. 

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