Badminton: 'Super' Dan says sport should expand global reach

Badminton: 'Super' Dan says sport should expand global reach

Singapore - Badminton can do more to become a global sport by allowing tournaments to be played outside the sport's traditional Asian bastions, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan said Tuesday.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of this week's Singapore Open, the Chinese superstar said the sport should be more popular than it already is.

"Badminton is an attractive sport that helps a lot of people, especially teenagers, both physically and mentally," he said through a translator.

"If you want more (people) to accept and enjoy the sport, competitions have to be played in different parts of the world rather than always in India, Singapore, Malaysia or China," he added.

"Should competitions of a high standard be organised in new venues, I am very willing to take part." The 32-year-old added it was the job of the Badminton World Federation to promote the sport to a wider international audience.

Nicknamed "Super Dan" in 2004, by now-retired Danish star Peter Gade, the Chinese shuttler remains the only singles player to have scooped all nine major badminton titles on top of two Olympic golds.

While the pressure may be on Lin to add a third gold at the Rio Olympics in August, he said his focus would simply be to perform at his best.

"We won't be thinking about statistics or the chances of winning gold. It's only by playing one's best in every game that you will have the best outcome," he said.

World number one Chen Long - who is also from China - is another hot favourite for Olympic gold this summer.

But one contender who will not be at Rio is the Japanese player and world number two Kento Momota, who was expelled from the national Olympics team for gambling at an illegal casino.

The 21-year-old has been banned from competition indefinitely by the Nippon Badminton Association.

But Chen said there were other countries, such as Denmark and Germany, that had good players.

"You can't say that just because there are one or two competitors less that it becomes easy," he said at the same news conference.

Lin, ranked number three in the world, said he admired the Nippon Badminton Association for taking strong action.

"This is a matter for the Japanese association and their country, it is not for us to comment on the matter," he said.

"But, from what I have read, I respect and admire the Nippon Badminton Association for their stand... that regardless of who has committed an offence, their stance remains the same."

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