The Badminton Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) will host the International Badminton Championships at the Italian Sports Club starting on Thursday.
The tournament has been preceded by a coaches’ and technical officials’ course being run by Badminton Confederation of Africa expert Annirao Dajee from Mauritius.
The course started on Tuesday at Prince Edward School.
This is the first time that BAZ are hosting an international tournament and countries that have confirmed participation include Iran, Austria, Australia, the United States, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Morocco, Uganda and Iraq.
Most African countries are not fielding players for the tournament because of the upcoming 10th All-Africa Games while Zimbabwe will field 24 players, although two top local players, Paul Kopolo and Ngonidzashe Mhind, will be missing due to the continental games.
BAZ president Chipo Zumburani told NewsDay Sport preparations were well underway and her association was ready to successfully host the championships.
“Italian Sports Club is now ready and four courts of international standard have been prepared.
“This will be a high-profile tournament with top-class players from around the world and they would all want to do well as it will carry world ranking points for Olympic qualification.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have as much top representation from other players on the continent due to the All-Africa Games, but all the same, we expect an exciting tournament,” said Zumburani.
The International Badminton Championships form part of the African Circuit comprising 10 international tournaments in Algeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, Morrocco, Namibia, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius and Uganda.
The participating players will battle it out in the men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and the mixed doubles.
The stakes will be high as the tournament is sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation, meaning that it will carry world ranking points for Olympic qualification.
Badminton is a racquet sport played by either two opposing players (singles) or two opposing pairs (doubles), who take positions on opposite halves of a rectangular court that is divided by a net.
Players score points by striking a shuttlecock with their racquet so that it passes over the net and lands in their opponents’ half of the court.
Each side may only strike the shuttlecock once before it passes over the net. A rally ends once the shuttlecock has struck the floor.
Since 1992, badminton has been an Olympic sport with five events: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.