London 2012 Olympic Games, Badminton, Wembley Arena, 30 July 2012

This was the first of our four Olympic/Paralympic visits and it was very early in the games, so we were very excited ahead of this event. In truth, we were excited ahead of each of our visits.

Although it was an evening event, it was a Monday so we made a long weekend of it, taking the day off. We played tennis in the morning and goodness knows what we did with the rest of the day – I don’t think we faffed around most of the day planning our evening – maybe we did.

We set off good and early to be sure of avoiding the rush hour and no crush at the Arena, but we needn’t have worried about that; the journey to the event was very straightforward.

In truth, badminton is not the most watchable sport I have ever seen. There were three matches being played  simultaneously and/but we (all spectators) had a much better view of one match than the other two. This can be a bit confusing and the crowd roar from those close to another table is a bit off-putting to the spectators – goodness knows how the players concentrate – presumably they are used to it.

We saw a mixture of mens and womens, singles and doubles. All the details for the events we saw are shown on the relevant wikipedia entries – click through from the general badminton page here.

The following evening, there was a big hoo-ha about womens doubles pairs not giving of there all, which is covered in the above link and which the BBC reported here. That controversy gave us a fair bit of “we were there the night before the scandal” talking point kudos.

Badminton is a hugely skillful game and I’m glad we went to see it. But in truth, sitting indoors (it was clammy) and with several matches going on at the same time, it is not hugely compelling, so I wouldn’t do this one again.

And by gosh Wembley Arena looks tired now – it had been a while since my last visit. Better for gigs than for sports, I’d say. I planned a clever route home to avoid most of the crowds, which worked pretty well.

In retrospect, I’m glad we went to this event first, as we enjoyed it, but for sure our Olympic experience got better after this. We might have been a bit disappointed by this event had we been to Wimbledon and/or the Olympic Park first.

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