MANILA, Philippines -- A new variation of badminton is set to hit the country.
With the Badminton World Federation (BWF) developing a new sport in air badminton, the Philippine Badminton Association (PBA) looks to promote it to the far reaches of the country in the next few months.
As compared to indoor badminton, air badminton can be played on any surface -- sand, grass, or cement.
"Air badminton is the newest game in badminton. It's our outdoor game. Mainly, the purpose of this is to make badminton accessible to everyone. Some say badminton is an outdoor sport turned indoor but that is not the case," said Ian Piencenaves, Badminton Asia's regional development officer for Southeast Asia.
"If basketball has 3x3 and volleyball has beach volleyball, this is badminton's answer to it," added PBA secretary-general Christopher Quimpo.
"Air badminton can be played on cement, grass, or sand so the venue could be anywhere from the beach, football fields, or even in parking lots."
Last year, the BWF launched the air shuttle, which compared to its feather counterpart is made of plastic. It weighs three grams heavier than the regular shuttles (8 grams). Moreover, the design of the air shuttle goes with the wind, making the games faster and more dynamic.
Rackets used will be the same but the string tension must be increased to higher than the recommended 18 to 20 pounds for optimum gameplay.
With a faster game, air badminton tweaked the playing area a little bit.
Though using the same dimensions of the indoor court, the front area of the court near the net will be a no-zone. With this, drop shots are strictly prohibited.
Another addition to air badminton will bring is a triples event, especially in the sand variation.
"The game is definitely faster," remarked Piencenaves.
To help grow the game, PBA will distribute air shuttles and the new net system to schools across the country.
"We are going to donate shuttles to public schools everywhere, including Mindanao. Ang maganda dito ay hindi ganun kabilis masira 'yung airshuttle. It takes six months at least for it to break," said Quimpo.
In late 2021, the PBA is looking to launch air badminton tournaments that will go side-by-side with indoor badminton.
"This is not just a backyard badminton thing since tournaments will be organized by the world-governing body as well," said Quimpo.