By SARUN SAELEE
If you are walking in Hong Kong city, even in many MTR or subway stations, it is a normal phenomenon to see badminton players carrying the sport gear, especially of the Yonex brand, a very famous badminton equipment manufacturer, just in the range of your eyesight. It is inevitable to say that badminton is one of the most popular sports among Hong Kong people. Not only the locals, it also includes residents departing from mainland China, where badminton is played broadly, as well as other countries.
Due to very high demand of Hong Kong people plus expatriates, badminton courts provided in Hong Kong are never adequate. Some badminton groups need to book the courts for 1-2 months in advance just to organize a two-hour session. Therefore, it should not be surprised why many badminton game organizers normally will not allow any walk-in players to join their games casually. No one wants to lose the precious and enjoyable time, given that it is so difficult to get an available slot and arrange a single session.
It is not only foreign badminton lovers who have found difficulties to play badminton in Hong Kong, the locals themselves are also in the same situation. Game hosts have to compete among themselves for court booking while players need to sign up to reserve and seek for permission in their preferred badminton sessions via a website like an online badminton center of Hong Kongers, so called Hong Kong Forum.
However, the said website is completely in Chinese, so this should be another problem for foreigners who cannot read and use the language. Nevertheless, knowing a little Chinese would probably be enough to look for the games on the website. Details and some tips will be raised later on.
What badminton courts in Hong Kong look like? Most of them are multi-purpose courts as a part of sports center across the city. Because of the limited space on the island, these courts are ready to be converted into basketball courts, volleyball courts and others. As a result, the real badminton courts with rubber flooring are rarely seen. This is also another reason why the badminton courts supplies never meet with the people’s demand.
All basic information above should help you understand more about the situation in Hong Kong. It does not mean that the locals do not welcome badminton players from other countries, but foreigners just need to know and learn some processes in such different cultures first.