SOLIBAD: Pi leads the way in Paris
On the famous “Champ De Mars”, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, French badminton players started a trend which could become famous all over the world – the first “FLASHMOB” dedicated to badminton and a charity foundation SOLIBAD – Badminton Without Borders.
The primary objective of SOLIBAD is to raise funds within the global community of badminton, using both amateur and professional players, and to donate the money raised to various local projects, some of which are badminton related, and that have been chosen carefully for their sustainability.
The choreography, which saw some tourists quite stunned on their way to France’s most visited monument, was led by none other than Pi Hongyan, bronze medallist at the last World Championships.
The Chinese-born shuttler, six time national champion in her new home, started a badminton routine, holding a racket, before more than 200 fans, came from nowhere to join her on the grass, for what became a giant and synchronized choreography under the cameras of French National TV.
“It’s just amazing to be able to play here, to have fun, and to promote SOLIBAD at the same time. This place is special. It’s symbolic. I didn’t expect so many people to show up in spite of the bad weather. It shows badminton involves caring people” said Pi Hongyan.
Amongst those who participated were Sebastiao Oliveira and few of his young players from his badminton academy in Brazil and France No 2 men’s singles shuttler Matthieu Lo Ying Ping who will be competing in the upcoming Singapore Open Super Series on 15-20 June.
The Flashmob which spread through the social networks such as Facebook and Twitter amongst the French badminton community was also followed in more than 7 cities in France.
“We wanted to start in France, but this is only the beginning of a new and crazy adventure. Next year, we’ll challenge every country to have their own flashmob – a giant gathering in symbolic places, wearing our colours, and playing badminton in the streets everywhere,” says SOLIBAD founder Raphael Sachetat.
France will welcome the Yonex BWF World Championships in August, but the next event involving SOLIBAD on the world tour will be in Singapore where Top stars will ravish the home fans with some surprises during the upcoming Li-Ning Singapore Open from June 14th to 20th.