With neon lights on the floor and walls, pulsing electronic beats, and a glowing red shuttlecock bouncing back and forth, a Malaysian badminton court evokes a sci-fi movie set.
Shuttle in the Dark, a badminton hall in the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, was set up late last year by Inic Sport Management, a sports management company, to encourage people to take up the sport after two years of social restrictions because amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our initial goal was how can we encourage and gain back the interest of people to come back and play,” Inic Sport Management director Irina Inozemtseva said. “Not only those enthusiasts, but then as well, the new people who were not able to or never played badminton before.”
Playing in a futuristic court presents an unusual challenge for athletes, as they have to adjust their eyes to the darkness to play, professional badminton coach Lee Yan Sheng said.
“With the lighting, somehow we are still able to hit it and then it requires better focus,” Lee said. “And it’s exciting. It’s different, but it’s still like playing normal” badminton, professional player Ho Yen Mei said.
Open to athletes of all levels, Shuttle in the Dark charges 180 ringgit (US$42.63) per hour to use the courts and rent their neon equipment.
A regular public court in Malaysia charges about 20 ringgit.
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