Tuesday, May 21, 2019
TEXT BY Tom Leonard & Lloyd Green | Badminton Photo
The TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 is the perfect stage for all nations to experience elite badminton.
That’s certainly been the case for Kazakhstan, who, after making an appearance in 2015, are back and in search of top billing in Group 4A.
In 2015, they finished third in Group 4B and 34th overall, with many of that squad returning to Nanning.
Already they have improved on that effort with a 4-1 win over Greenland earlier today to set up an intriguing battle with Macau on Thursday.
Spearheading the team is 19-year-old Dmitriy Panarin, who is competing in his first Sudirman Cup after relishing a memorable career as a junior.
Panarin celebrated numerous victories on the BWF Junior International Challenge circuit and was regularly in the top 20 of the world junior rankings throughout 2018.
Today, he won his men’s singles match against Jens-Frederik Nielsen 21-14 21-14.
The trick for Kazakhstan is finding more talented athletes like Panarin to bolster their squad. For this, they need to overcome barriers to participation such as funding and the ability to train.
Currently, athletes rely on sports schools to provide the resources they need to compete at this level.
“We were able to send Panarin to the Youth Olympic Games for the first time ever. The Sudirman Cup is a great experience for our younger players and it’s important for us to get good results like today so we can get more funding for the players to train in school,” said head coach Ormanov Askar.
“Badminton is not a popular sport in Kazakhstan. Our male players have enjoyed more success and have been able to go more places, so this Sudirman Cup is a great opportunity for our female players to compete on this stage.”
A win against Macau will see them win the group and finish 29th overall.