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No time to make noise in rapid-fire badminton

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Why is it that there’s less grunting in badminton than tennis?

While watching the action at Wembley Arena on Saturday, this thought occurred to me: It probably has something to do with the fact that in badminton there’s no time do anything but hit the shuttlecock, react to its return . . . and breathe.

Really, there’s hardly even time to blink between shots in the rapid-fire game.

For instance, the shuttlecock (also called the birdie) has been measured at speeds of up to 421 kph.

Badminton is a remarkably fast game at the elite level. Movements and decisions are made in split-second time.

Additionally, the women’s doubles gold-medal match between China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei and Japan’s Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa illustrated the intense, nonstop pace of the sport. In their longest stretch of play, the foursome accounted for 55 shots in 48 seconds.

What one hears again and again is the sound of the racket smacking the shuttlecock.

Less grunting, more shots. That’s a good thing, eh?