Glow-in-the-dark badminton lures Malaysian players back to the court | Jobi Cool

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 (Reuters) – With neon lights on the floor and walls, electronic pulses and a glowing red shuttlecock bouncing back and forth, this Malaysian badminton court evokes something out of a sci-fi movie.

Shuttle In The Dark, a badminton hall in Kuala Lumpur’s iconic Petronas Twin Towers, was launched in late 2021 by a sports management company to encourage people to take up racquet sports after two years of social restrictions due to COVID. -19 epidemic.

“Our initial goal was how we can encourage and bring back people’s interest to come back and play,” says Irina Inozemtseva, director of Inic Sport Management.

“Not just the enthusiasts, but also the new people who can’t or have never played badminton before.”

Playing on the futuristic playground is an unusual challenge for athletes because they have to adjust their eyes to the dark to play, said professional badminton coach Li Yan Sheng.

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

For 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 that has produced some of the world’s highest-ranked players.

Reporting by Ebrahim Harris; Written by Travis Theo; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Christian Schmollinger

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