The badminton courts of the “Yonex Latvia International” badminton tournament, which will be held in Latvian city of Jelgava from September 1 to 4, will be named after the names of Ukrainian cities, in accordance with the list made by the Ukrainian Badminton Federation.
Court names of Ukrainian cities will be specified by the Ukrainian Badminton Federation on August 18, two weeks before the start of the tournament, as well as a day before the publication of the match schedule. The Badminton Federation of Ukraine will also clarify which of the names will be used for the final court, as well as the two semi-final courts.
In total, 5 or 6 courts of special badminton mats will be used in the Jelgava tournament, depending on the number of participants, but on Sunday, September 4, when the semi-finals and finals will take place, only two courts will be used, while on Saturday, when 1/4 finals and 1/ 8 finals, only 4 courts are used. The biggest load is on the first and second day of the tournament, when the qualification matches and 1/16 finals take place, so 5 or even 6 badminton courts are used in the first days of the tournament.
In 2019, it was the first time when one of the courts was not named after the sponsor. In 2019, the tournament was held from June 1 to 4, but the central court of the tournament was named in tribute of Notre Dame, commemorating the fire of April 15, 2019, which thrilled the whole of Europe. On the side of the Notre Dame badminton court, 66 Latvian children’s drawings from the competition organized by the Latvian Badminton Federation together with the Jelgava Art School in May 2019 were placed, involving art schools from other cities as well.
In the past six years, since the Yonex Latvia International has been held in Jelgava, badminton courts have been named after 19 tournament sponsors, including Inbox.lv, Lāči, Venden, Rinkuškiai, Tērvetes Alus, Zemgales Veselības centrs, European Hit Radio, Super FM, Mix FM, EcoLead , Megogo, Coral Lub, Marinenburg, Evelatus, Ruukki, Maxxis, Mūsa Motors, Opel Insignia and Renault Talisman.
The sponsors of the 2022 tournament were informed that the names of the courts will not be used for advertising purposes this year. Sponsors received offers for other advertising activities.
Naming badminton courts is important not only for players and spectators on the spot in the sports hall, but also for live viewers around the world, including Badminton Europe and BWF TV platforms, as well as specialised sports betting platforms around the world.
Possible court names this year are Ukrainian cities that have suffered the most, most heroically resisted, as well as cities where previously successful badminton centers have been destroyed, such as Kharkiv or Mykolaiv.
Previously, it was planned that the next week after the Latvian tournament, from September 8 to 11, the badminton tournament “Ukraine International” would take place in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The European Badminton Calendar has hopefully mentioned that the tournament has been “postponed” and not “cancelled” as it has been mentioned for other tournaments not taking place this year.
“When we can hold a tournament, but the next tournament scheduled in the world calendar cannot take place because of the war, it seems obvious to me that we should honour Ukraine and its victimised cities and badminton centres in our tournament in Latvia,” says the director of “Yonex Latvia International” Kristians Rozenvalds.
Naming courts after Ukrainian cities is not the only social activity of Yonex Latvia International related to Ukraine this year. In all three Latvian international World and European ranking tournaments, Ukrainian players will enter free of charge, will be accommodated for free in cooperation with municipalities and fed in cooperation with tournament sponsors. These conditions are equally relevant to the European U17 ranking tournament “Yonex Latvia U17”, in Liepaja, from August 11 to 13, the World ranking badminton tournament “Yonex Latvia International”, in Jelgava, from September 1 to 4, and the World junior ranking tournament “Yonex Latvia Junior”, Sigulda, from November 11 to 13.
The president of the Ukrainian Badminton Federation, Oleksiy Dniprov, expressed his sincere gratitude for the following gesture of support: “Our federation is grateful to all our friends from Latvia for supporting players from Ukraine, giving professional athletes the most important thing – the opportunity to continue playing badminton. Since February 24th, we have been primarily focused on humanitarian aid for our players. Of course, it is very important to meet the basic needs – to find a place for our players to sleep, to ensure that they have food. But badminton is an important part of their daily life, so I’m sure they appreciate the opportunity to play in major professional tournaments.”
“Badminton society does a lot for Ukraine, but we will be grateful if other countries take an example from Latvia and support our players. We invite the whole world to show the unity and mutual support of the badminton family. And after the victory, we will gladly welcome all our friends to Ukraine!” – summed up Oleksiy Dniprov.