New Latvian champions of the men’s and women’s teams have been crowned using the relay 100 format. The team of “Riga Badminton School” was the strongest women’s team, and the team “Ananta.lv” of Baloži Badminton Club was the strongest men’s team. Sigulda teams won silver medals in both men’s and women’s championships, and similarly, Valmiera teams won both bronze medals. The winners were awarded the Latvian Champions Cup and medals, as well as prizes from the championship sponsors – “Evelatus” and “Lavazza”.
A total of 15 teams participated in the Latvian men’s and women’s team championship, including 11 men’s teams and four women’s teams. The men’s teams were initially divided into two subgroups, a group tournament was played. The two best teams from each subgroup qualified for the semifinals. The women’s teams initially played a group tournament to find out how the teams will be seeded in the semifinals.
A total of 79 players played at least one game in the Latvian men’s and women’s team championship. At least one game was umpired by seven umpires. The total number of games was 39, including 31 group tournament games, four semifinals and four medal games. All 39 games were streamed live on YouTube. The finals were also broadcast on the national sports TV channel “Sportacentrs”.
Badminton 100 relay format potential
“We created a great TV product! It was interesting for players, spectators and sponsors. The drama of the game was excellent because the next champion was not known until the last minutes of the game. It was a very professional performance of the TV team. And the big benefit is the Badminton 100 relay format,” summarised Kristians Rozenvalds, Secretary General of the Latvian Badminton Federation and Commissioner of Latvian men’s and women’s champions.
Latvian men’s and women’s badminton team championship games took place in Badminton 100 relay format, playing up to 100 points, including the first three singles until the winning team scores 20, 40 and 60 points, and two doubles until the winning team scores 80 and 100.
Kristians Rozenvalds explains that in this format it is easier to predict the time of one game because the length of one team match is no longer than 75 minutes. This format is more interesting for TV. This format is easy for fans to understand. Each point won is significant, it unites the team and motivates the players. The availability of the format is a prerequisite for popularity. Teams of smaller municipalities, organisations and badminton communities can apply this format.
Although badminton is widely known as an individual sport, including individual tournaments at the Olympic Games, the main driving force behind the development of badminton is team championships and leagues. It is also a major source of income for players, a source of interest for players, viewers, the media and sponsors.
The Latvian Badminton Federation organises several team tournaments, including four tournaments in the Badminton 100 relay format: the Latvian Men’s and Women’s Team Championships, the Latvian School Team Championships, the Latvian University League and the Baltic Youth Championships. The Latvian Badminton Federation also organises the Latvian Mixed Team Championships, which is a qualification for the European Mixed Team Championships.
Epidemiological safety at the highest level
In order to start the Latvian men’s and women’s team championship, the Board of Latvian Badminton federation had set very strict epidemiological safety requirements. During the game, only the players registered in the team for the specific game, as well as one coach, could be in the hall. Players, umpires and coaches were always in face masks, except for the umpire and players at the time of the game. Players could arrive to the games only individually, except for those living in the same household and excluding players who played doubles in the same pair.
In order to reduce team mobility, all Latvian men’s and women’s team championships games took place in “bubbles” in Riga, Sigulda, as well as three games were held in Baloži. Initially, it was planned that the teams would meet each other, playing in games at home and away, but in order to minimise the migration of players, it was decided to concentrate the games in one place.
Only players, coaches and referees who had electronically confirmed compliance with epidemiological safety requirements before each game could participate in the Latvian men’s and women’s team championship games. “We were the first to create an easy-to-read and easy-to-fill e-questionnaire. It was not just a formal document, because the player was forced to think about it, confirming that they would comply with the strict epidemiological requirements set by the organisers. The second advantage of the e-questionnaire was so that all the data about the players and teams were together,” explains Kristians Rozenvalds.
“Everything has been safe in the Latvian men’s and women’s team championship. There is no case of infection. It required a lot of attention, a lot of daily work, the organisers had to be harsh and uncompromising. But the biggest satisfaction is that everything worked out, as well as epidemiological safety. I had been ill before, I know how unpleasant this experience was for me and my family, it encouraged me to act even more responsibly,” says Kristians Rozenvalds.