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Glow-in-the-dark badminton entices Malaysian players back onto court

Randy Mancini 4 Mar 31
Malaysians play glow-in-the-dark badminton in Kuala Lumpur
A badminton player shows his glow-in-the-dark badminton racket at a badminton court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain

March 31, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – With neon lights on the floor and walls, pulsing electronic beats, and a glowing red shuttlecock bouncing back and forth, this Malaysian badminton court evokes a sci-fi movie set.

“Shuttle In The Dark”, a badminton hall in the iconic Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, was set up in late 2021 by a sports management company to encourage people to take up the racquet sport after two years of social restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Our initial goal was how can we encourage and gain back the interest of people to come back and play,” said Irina Inozemtseva, Director of Inic Sport Management.

“Not only those enthusiasts, but then as well, the new people who were not able to or never played badminton before.”

Playing in a futuristic court presents an unusual challenge for athletes as they have to adjust their eyes to the darkness to play, said professional badminton coach, Lee Yan Sheng.

“With the lighting, somehow we are still able to hit it and then it requires better focus. And it’s exciting, it’s different but it’s still like playing normal (badminton),” professional player Ho Yen Mei said.

Open to athletes of all levels, Shuttle in the Dark charges 180 ringgit ($42.63) per hour to use the courts and rent their neon equipment. A regular public court charges about 20 ringgit.

Badminton is one of the most popular sports in Malaysia and Asia, with a thriving community in the Southeast Asian country, which has produced some of the world’s top-ranked players. 

(Reporting by Ebrahim Harris; Writing by Travis Teo; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Christian Schmollinger)