Glow-in-the-dark badminton is luring Malaysian players back onto the court

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 – With neon lights on the floor and walls, throbbing electronic beats and a bright red shuttlecock bouncing around, this Malaysian badminton court is reminiscent of a sci-fi movie set.

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

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

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

Playing on a futuristic court poses an unusual challenge for athletes because they have to adjust their eyes to the dark to play, said professional badminton coach Lee Yan Sheng.

“With the lighting, we can still kind of hit it, and then it requires better concentration. And it’s exciting, it’s different, but it’s still like normal playing (badminton),” said professional player Ho Yen Mei.

Open to athletes of all skill levels, Shuttle in the Dark charges 180 ringgit ($42.63) per hour to use the courts and rent their neon gear. A normal 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 best players.

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reporting by Ebrahim Harris; writing by Travis Teo; Edited by Kanupriya Kapoor and Christian Schmollinger

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Policy.

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