Flashback for the 1st Shuttlecock World Championship
Once upon a time, it was happened more than 20 years ago that we organized the 1st Shuttlecock World Championship from 15 July to 20 July in 2000. It was a historical achievement regarding both the shuttlecock sport and the whole sports’s history. For most of the shuttlecock players it is even a tale. They were four or five years old or even they haven’t been born when Hungary organized the 1st Shuttlecock Championship. These 20 years have flown and only a few players stayed who still play shuttlecock and have already competed in 2000, as well. We can find some Finnish, Hungarian and German players who are still competing and took part in the last World Championship in France in 2019, too. There are some team leaders who came to Újszász in 2000 as a player or a team leader. The oldest is Lee from Taiwan who is still active.
It’s hard to remember for everything that was happened 20 years ago, since there were few computers. We didn’t have Internet connection all the time, we didn’t have any webpage or Facebook site. We could hardly get digital camera, too. It’s hard to imagine for the youngsters nowadays. We have some offline documents, which help us to recall the event from 2000, like race reports, contemporary newspapers or digitalized contemporary photos.
How did the 1st Shuttlecock Championship take place in Újszász?
International Shuttlecock Federation (ISF) was established in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi on 11 November 1999. Hungary was represented by János Fehér. He was elected for the vice president of the ISF due to his work for popularizing shuttlecock in Europe. The other European vice president became Peter von Rüden from Germany.
The presidency of the ISF asked Hungary to organize the 1st Shuttlecock Championship. Hungary held this world event in Újszász, what is a small town with 6500 residents. Újszász had some international experience due to the Hungarian Open. There have already been a lot of shuttlecock players in Újszász even in 2000 and this competition was very dear to the populous organizer group members’ heart.
ISF had some interesting rules, which must be kept by the organizers. The organizer country had to pay the fees of all the participants. This rule worked until 2015, when the World Championship was held in Italy. The host country had the chance to have two entities in each event. This rule was alive till 2007. It was allowed to have substitute players in double, as well. This rule was applied only in 2000.
The matches consist of two sets, both of them lasted until 15 points. Points could be reached by only the entity who served. Therefore, the matches were so long. Men’s team final between China and Vietnam lasted for more than two hours. The score was 1-1 in the first set for 15 minutes because the serving entity changed after each rally. This rule was alive until 2002, since then all rally is counted in the score. This way the games are faster, alike volleyball and badminton.
There weren’t any other specifications. The Hungarian organizers had the chance to formulate the announcement of the championship. It seemed to be successful. Even the recent announcements of championships contain sentences from 2000.
Our little town, Újszász had seven months to prepare for the championship. Due to the cooperation of a good amount of people the 1st Shuttlecock Championship became successful. However, less country participated in it than we expected: Finland, Netherlands, China, Hungary (A and B entities), Germany, Taiwan and Vietnam. Laos sent an observer, who was called Sengphone Phonamath.
The world championship was organized in the frame of a two week-long shuttlecock playing. The 5th Hungarian Open -what was called Intercity Cup- lasted from 8 July to 11 July. It was appropriate for the players of Finland, Hungary and Germany to prepare for playing against the Asian competitors.
The big fights in the frame of the world championship started on 15 July 2000 after a musical pageantry. Games were played in a hot spirit in the little sports hall. There was full house every day. Watching the spectacular movements of Vietnamese and Chinese players and cheering the Hungarian players who was playing representing the national team gave an amazing mood for the target. The peak of the event was the second evening when Vietnam won against China in men’s team during a more than two hour-long match. The audience gave a standing ovation and clapping for the world champion Vietnamese players who showed all the beauties of playing shuttlecock.
The finals were played between China and Vietnam at each event. Vietnam won five, while China won two first places.
The Hungarian National Team, which consisted players from Kisnána, Nagykanizsa and Újszász played well, too. Team A won three bronze medals; Team B won two bronze medals.
I wrote the following article for the local newspaper about the 1st World Championship:
The sports hall is empty. The regular customers came back to the Szász Restaurant. Some participants of a local dance camp are gathering in the dormitory. The smiling Vietnamese, the curious Taiwanese and a seemingly formal, but actually friendly Finnish players went home. Everybody has travelled home. What has stayed here for us? The memory of the sports hall’s passionate spirit, rhythmical applause and amazing games. The participants’ gratefulness, acknowledgement, the popularization of shuttlecock, the increasing acquaintance of Újszász, the beginning of the cable-based television system. These are the evidence of the fact that a little town can even make remarkable things if a lot of people cooperate together.
The Hungarian delegation: Tamás Takács, László Szarvas, Endre dr. Baky, Zoltánné Barta (interpreter) and János Fehér
I miss this cooperation nowadays. We organized the first world championship of a small sport. It might would be larger and shinier in big cities. People gave their heart to the competition here. Thank you for everybody, especially for the supporters, the local authority, the Szász Restaurant, the high school, all of the organizers and other voluntaries and last but not least the enthusiastic spectators who created the real mood of the world championship. Maybe there won’t be any world championship in Újszász anymore, because this sport will outgrow us. But don’t forget -as all of the shuttlecock players will know it- that the 1st Shuttlecock World Championship was held in Hungary from 15 July to 20 July 2000 in Újszász, Hungary.
Written by János Fehér President of Hungarian Shuttlecock Association
Translated by Lilla Farkas
15 December, 2020 Újszász Hungary
The Final Results of the 1st International Shuttlecock Championships
© Photos Hungary Shuttlecock