A Closer Look at Umpires Part 3: The Future of Badminton
Last week, the second part of the three-part series “A Closer Look at Umpires” was released. Now, in the third and final part of this series titled “A Closer Look at Umpires: A Look into the Future” we will discuss the future of badminton in the new normal.
Badminton Asia (BA) concludes this series thanks to the wonderful interviews with the 3 BWF umpires from Indonesia: Wahyana, Robbertus Tommy Oscariano, and Abdul Latif Jaohari, who all shared their opinions and hopes of what to look forward to ahead.
What will the future of badminton look like with Covid-19 around?
The year 2020 was a difficult year for everyone due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and badminton was no exception to that. Many competitions were cancelled or postponed. Wahyana believes that this will probably still be the case for this year. Although we are more prepared, COVID-19 cases in many areas are still high and therefore precautions and restrictions must still be put in place and followed.
The Thailand bubbles -- Yonex Thailand Open, Toyota Thailand Open, HSBC BWF World Tour Finals -- were the first 3 tournaments that were held with COVID-19 protocols and all three umpires officiated in the tournaments. Wahyana highlights how Thailand was an incredible host, and Oscariano says that the Thai tournaments hosted in January (Thai Open and World Tour Finals), may be a ‘model’ for other countries to follow when they have badminton tournaments in their respective places. He also notes however, that each host country will be different depending on their current situations.
Jaohari emphasizes greatly on how we’re all now living in unprecedented times, “We have to be aware of the changes. The schedule is already decided by BWF, however it can change any time and we have to be aware of it.”
Tournaments with COVID-19 protocols felt different not only on the court, but also off the court. “When we go outside, don’t expect to ‘see the outside life’. When I was in Thailand, I didn’t prepare food from Indonesia because I thought it would be the same (as previous competitions). But when I was there, we had to (just) live in the hotel. It was not what I was expecting,” Jaohari says. All of the adjustments made, Jauhari says, were a good reminder that it’s very different from ‘normal’ and therefore takes some time to get used to.
But the changes that are being implemented in badminton competitions and other sports due to the current COVID-19 situation is a testament itself to the sport. Badminton is a sport that is as changing as the times that we are living in.
The 3 umpires, Wahyana, Robbertus Tommy Oscariano, and Abdul Latif Jaohari have all shared their thoughts, stories and goals to us and Badminton Asia is thankful for their time and experiences as umpires of the game.
This pandemic has been difficult for everyone as we are all facing an unprecedented time in our lives. Because of that, people can get more vulnerable and emotional. Players, audiences, and host organizers are all trying to make the best out of their situations, but even then sometimes things can lead to misperceptions of discriminations on and off the courts.
Badminton Asia has always encouraged umpires to uphold fairness when officiating events and will continue to ensure that there's no discrimination in their decisions on the court.
We hope that this 3 part series “A Closer Look at Umpires” has given the audience a brief but insightful look at the umpires and their role in making any badminton event successful.