With bright lights on the floor and walls, loud electronic music, and a red shuttlecock flying around, this Malaysian badminton court seems like the set of a science fiction movie.
"Shuttle In The Dark" is a place to play badminton in the famous Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. It was set up in late 2021 by a company that wanted people to take up the sport after two years of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Badminton is one of the most popular sports in Malaysia and Asia. The Southeast Asian country has produced some of the world's top-ranked players.
Irina Inozemtseva is Director of Inic Sport Management. She said the goal was to "gain back the interest of people to come back and play." She added that the group wanted to draw in not only expert players but also “new people who were not able to or never played badminton before."
The futuristic court presents a new difficulty for players. They have to adjust their eyes to the darkness to play, said Lee Yan Sheng, a professional badminton coach.
Professional player Ho Yen Mei used the term focus – meaning to carefully direct attention – to describe the requirements of playing on the court.
"With the lighting, somehow we are still able to hit it and then it requires better focus. And it's exciting, it's different but it's still like playing normal (badminton),” she said.
Open to players of all levels, Shuttle in the Dark charges $42.63 per hour to use the courts and rent their equipment. A regular public court charges about $4.50.
I’m John Russell.
Ebrahim Harris reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English.
Words in This Story
shuttlecock – n. a lightweight object that is used in badminton
badminton – n. a court game played with light long-handled rackets and a shuttlecock volleyed over a net
rank -- v. to determine the relative position of
coach -- n. one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy