Dubai: The International Badminton Federation (BWF) yesterday launched an Integrity Ambassadors’ campaign and announced five of its top players as the first Integrity Ambassadors to promote clean, fair and honourable sport in a launch event at Dubai.
The event is the latest step in the BWF’s integrity programme – i am badminton – which began last season. Through these ambassadors – more of whom will be introduced in 2017 – BWF will represent and promote the campaign’s values, with them serving as role models for the badminton world.
So, lets go through the players identified and announced by BWF as the Integrity Ambassadors:
The Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics Women’s Doubles Silver Medalist (along with Kamilla Rytter Juhl) is credited as Doubles Specialist coz of her success in Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles. She’s won Mixed Doubles bronze at the London Summer Olympics (with Joachim Fischer Nielsen).
She is one of the two Shuttlers from Denmark to be announced as the Integrity Ambassador. She first came into reckoning with her Denmark Open Super Series title win in 2009.
The Danish Shuttler hailed the decision to appoint Integrity Ambassadors “a really good step to secure our sport”, adding that she too is honoured to be an ambassador for BWF’s integrity programme.
Viktor was in the news again within a span of 72 hours, earlier he got Mr. Best Dressed at the BWF annual awards and yesterday he joined other four top Shuttlers to be the Integrity Ambassador of BWF.
Viktor came into reckoning at the age of 16-years when he became the first non-Asian badminton player ever to capture the title of U19 men’s singles world champion.
Adding to his earlier wins, he has an Olympic Bronze earned at the Rio 2016 Summer Games in 2016.
She’s been in the top 10 rankings since 2009. She hadn’t had a great Olympic 2016 as she had to pull out from the Summer Games due to injury and had not so great outings at China & Hong Kong Open Superseries. She’s the third Shuttler to be named as the BWF Integrity Ambassador by Sport’s highest body.
Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi
World No. 1 pair of Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi claimed Japan’s first-ever Olympic badminton gold medal at Rio 2016 Summer Games when they beat Denmark’s Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl 2-1 in women’s doubles final.
At Rio, Matsutomo and Takahashi became the first pair from outside China to win the women’s Olympic doubles title since the 1992 Barcelona Games.
On being selected as the Integrity Ambassadors, Rio 2016 Olympic Games gold medallists said it was “an honour and a unique opportunity to be chosen for this role”.
Speaking about their career plans, they added, “We want to continue being successful so we can live up to this honourable title and focus attention on playing clean and honestly.” Earlier, the Japanese pair was jointly crowned BWF Female Player of the Year after an outstanding season.
After the announcement, the Ambassadors were presented to media by BWF Deputy President Gustavo Salazar Delgado on the eve of the Dubai World Superseries Finals which starts today.
Speaking about the initiative, Delgado said, “In establishing this (integrity) programme, we determined that, as our players are at the centre of our sport, it would be fitting to have some of them represent the ‘i am badminton’ campaign as ambassadors.”
He went on to welcome the players and said, “It is my pleasure to welcome Ayaka Takahashi, Misaki Matsutomo, Saina Nehwal, Christinna Pedersen and Viktor Axelsen as the first BWF Integrity Ambassadors. They are five athletes who compete with passion and who take huge pride in playing cleanly and fairly. They represent the integrity of badminton. Congratulations to our new Integrity Ambassadors and I thank them all for their commitment to this programme.”
After distribution of certificates to the ambassadors, the players were photographed collectively and individually next to their campaign posters, featuring the core slogan – i am clean; i am honest; i am badminton – or the players’ personal quotes.
Speaking about the Integrity Ambassadors’ initiative, BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said, “We want players to commit to upholding their integrity and thereby that of our sport. It’s an opportunity for them to let the world know what they stand for – that they are clean and honest athletes who love badminton.”
Speaking about how the introduction of these Ambassadors will convey the message, he added further, “These ambassadors will speak about the importance of integrity to their peers and engage in various promotional activities with the BWF.”