On Saturday Gothenburg plays host to the first Swedish Speedminton Open, as well as a Blackminton event during the evening.
Speedminton is a variant of badminton played without a net and was invented by German Bill Brandes in the late 1990s. Blackminton is the same sport played in the dark with a fluorescent ‘speeder.’
The speeder, a heavier version of a badminton shuttlecock, allows the sport to be played outside – whether it be on a beach, a mountain top or simply a garden. Instead of a net each player stands in a square and must hit the speeder into their opponent’s area.
Hans Granberg, who is both helping organize as well as play in the Gothenburg event, believes that Speedminton is growing because it is so easy to play.
“All you need to do is grab a racquet and a ball and you can play it anywhere. There are a lot of people starting to play Speedminton who used to play tennis, badminton and squash. It combines all the best parts of these sports.”
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Already over 90 players are registered to compete in the tournament, including Swedish badminton number one Magnus Salhberg and top tennis coach Klas Ivarsson. The sport even has the support of 2008 Australian Open winner Maria Sharapova.
“She loves to play Speedminton in her spare time,” Granberg says. “She has been sponsored by the sport for some time, but she liked it so much she began to play as well.”
The growth of Speedminton is continuing at an impressive rate. In Germany last year over 50,000 racquets were sold. In May, Liverpool plays host to the first ever European Championships and some within the community have even greater plans.
“Everyone who plays Speedminton would love to see it become an Olympic sport one day. It would be too much to hope for at London 2012, but who knows, maybe in 2016.”
The Swedish Speedminton Open takes place at the NRJ Gothenburg on Saturday 19th April from 9am to 11pm. There are tournaments for men, women and juniors.
For more information visit www.swedishspeedmintonopen.com.