Thursday 30 August 2012

US Elections: Why the Republican Party scares me

We're entering the home straight in the US Presidential elections. Mitt Romney has finally been confirmed as the Republican nominee at this week's national convention in Tampa Florida.

US politics feels like an never ending story of Presidential campaigning. No sooner has one election been won, the cycle immediately begins again.

Romney is the reluctant choice for many Republicans. It's like a 'marriage of convenience'. There's no great love for him from grassroots conservatives and Republicans but they accept he's their best chance of beating Obama.

Romney doesn't worry me too much. He comes across as fairly moderate conservative; one that struggles to connect with ordinary Americans. It's the Republican party behind him that's the real concern.

The party's been hijacked by radical right wingers and elements of the Tea Party, moderate conservatives voices have been purged. The result is a party that looks ridiculously extremist and out of touch to many foreign observers.

Why are they so extremist? I'll explain.

Reading the weekly column by US political commentator Andrew Sullivan in the Sunday Times, he described some of the following policies Republicans are advocating.

  • Climate change is a hoax.

  • On immigration, the party supports a wall across the southern border of the country, and the deportation of the nation's 11m illegal immigrants.

  • On the budget deficit and debt, the party refuses to look at tax increases to raise revenues. This despite the fact that tax revenues are at a lower proportion of GDP than at any time in the past 50 years!

  • They want to repeal the health insurance Act introduced by Obama. This allowed 30m of America's poor to have access to health insurance.

  • A constitutional amendment to ban any legal recognition of gay couples in any state.
  • On foreign policy - more Jewish settlement on the West Bank, and a possible war with Iran

  • To quote John McEnroe from his 1980s tennis playing days: 'You can not be serious'

    This party should be unelectable but as things stand Romney is running neck and neck with Obama for the November election. How is this possible?

    Obama is still favourite, but there's still a real possibility of the Republicans winning the White House.

    If you're not scared you should be.

    Wednesday 15 August 2012

    London 2012: What is the Olympic legacy?

    One of the great things about having a blog is that you can look back over your old posts and see what you had to say for yourself.

    I've been reading some of my old posts about the Olympics. In particular there was my first Olympics blog I wrote three years ago:

    3 years and counting before the Olympics begin

    If you read it, you'll see that back then I was talking about the sort of legacy the Games should leave.

    My original thoughts were that the Olympics should encourage and inspire young people to take up sport and for the nation as a whole to become more active.

    We're still having this debate and if there's one thing I've realised, it's that trying to figure out what an Olympic legacy should look like is actually pretty difficult.

    It's going to take a lot of hard work and vision to put in place a real legacy - the good thing is at least we're having the debate.

    Like a lot of people I'm still reveling in the after glow of an amazing and inspiring Olympic Games. The question now is how do we hold onto the that feel good factor and make the most of it before it all becomes a distant memory

    We've seen that the success of Team GB has come largely in part to an increase in funding. In the Atlanta Games of 1996 we won one Gold medal, in Beijing four years ago it was 19 - now in London 2012 it was an unprecedented 29 Gold medals.

    It might not sound romantic but if you want sporting success then you have to invest in it. The question is do you focus more on elite level sport or grass roots?

    It has to be both but you need to get people playing sport in the first place before they can begin to consider competing at an elite level. This means more school sport and a greater recognition of the role sport can play in terms of education.

    Critics complain that too many of our Olympians have been educated privately but that's only because private schools still understand and recognise the value of sport in education.

    There's constant talk on how too many state schools have sold off their playing fields under successive governments. This has to stop or at least slow down.

    Much of our sports facilities are old, tired and underfunded and will continue to be so due to more government cuts to local authorities.

    Despite the tough economic times we're living under, funding at this level needs to be looked at otherwise people will never have the chance to take up sport if the facilities available are too poor or non existent.

    But even having the facilities and seeing our athletes succeed at the Olympics is no guarantee that more people will take up sport. America is obsessed with sport, but it's population also includes some of the most obese people in the world.

    I think if you can get more young people physically active, they'll be more likely to continue with sport into adulthood and this should in theory lead to healthier lifestyles for people.

    Increasing sporting participation will be difficult along with maintaining adequate funding. However, there are some legacies we can already see.

    Look at the regeneration of East London; lets not forget that the Olympic Park site was a wasteland only a few years ago.

    The town of Stratford has been transformed, I've seen it with my own eyes having lived here for 4 years. The area will never be the same again and the reasons for that are generally positive ones.

    The legacy question will continue to be debated for years to come. One legacy that I hope will last which doesn't focus on sport or regeneration is that of the country's self image.

    I think the Olympics has allowed us to learn more about ourselves as a country. We're both a modern and ancient nation. We're cool but quirky, incredibly creative and passionate people.

    We've successfully organised the greatest show on earth. In terms of medals we've been the most successful country at the Games. We've discovered we don't always have to be gallant losers.

    Perhaps the greatest legacy can't be measured in terms economics, regeneration or sporting success. Maybe its one at an emotional level of understanding just what our country is about and knowing what we're capable of achieving.

    Tuesday 14 August 2012

    London 2012: Olympic Medal History

    With Britain enjoying its most successful Olympic Games in more than 100 years, I thought I'd share this infographic I found, where you can see which countries won the most medals at each Olympics.

    Olympic Medal History
    Check out our data visualization blog.

    The USA are clearly the most successful nation in Olympic history. Their dominance was challenged during the Cold War era by the Soviet Union, but as you can see, in recent years the economic and political rise of China has had a huge impact on the medal tables.

    Monday 13 August 2012

    London 2012: I shall miss you

    What an incredible two weeks it's been for the country since the Olympics started.

    The Games finally arrived and now they're gone forever. I feel sad writing this but like a lot of people I want to hold onto the amazing memories for as long as possible.

    London 2012 is without doubt the best thing I've ever experienced about living in this country. It's been so emotional, so uplifting and inspiring, I feel the country will be a better place for holding the Games.

    London 2012 has been my favourite Olympics and the best major sporting event I've watched.

    I've been 100% behind the Olympics ever since London announced its bid. I've never doubted we wouldn't put on a decent show - I just never realised it would be this good and this memorable.

    What's been so special about London 2012?

    Seeing so many of Team GB athletes rise to the occasion to win so many medals including a record number of Golds in the modern era.

    What's been great is that our medalists have been a real reflection of the British population with medalists coming from all walks of life. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're from, everyone would be able to identify or relate to at least one medalist.

    Public enthusiasm

    I said earlier in the week, that London 2012 have been the people's games. I really believe it's been the passion, enthusiasm and support from the public that have made these Olympics so special.

    We really are obsessed with sport in this country and there's been huge crowds for the big events like athletics, swimming and cycling, but also the more obscure. Whoever thought Handball could be so popular.

    I was at the Olympic stadium for the second day of athletics. Just a morning of qualifiers but the stadium was full. The support for Jessica Ennis competing in the heptathlon incredible - I will never forget it.

    Emotional highs and lows

    I've never watched an Olympics that have been so emotional. I've been moved to tears watching the success of Britain's athletes. Mo Farah's victory in the 10,000m springs to mind.

    There's the back stories you hear such as Gemma Gibbs in the Judo. After securing victory in her semi-final to guarantee at least a silver medal, she looked up and mouthed 'I love you mum' in memory of her mother who died of leukemia when Gibbons was 17 years old. It was hard not to be moved by that scene.

    There was also the disappointments. Those people who have waited years for this moment only to find that when the time eventually arrived they were out of form, injured or just the fact that London 2012 wasn't going to be the Games for them. It was tough to watch at times but it's very much a part of sporting life.

    Being patriotic is okay

    Has there ever been a time when the Union Jack has been so visible with people feeling so comfortable and at ease with the flag? I don't think there has been.

    I'd like to think that any negative connotations associated with the flag have truly disappeared once and for all.

    The flag felt inclusive and we saw different athletes, black, white, and mixed race all embracing the flag when celebrating success.

    For the last two weeks it really has felt as if the entire country was all in it together. It feels a bit cheesy to write that, but that's how it felt. I experienced that feeling at the Olympic Park, watching the athletics on a big screen. There was a real communal feel to the experience - one that suggested we were all together.

    Great performances from the athletes

    I've called London 2012 the people's games, but lets not forget it's the athletes themselves that produce the performances that inspire us and bring us to the venues.

    From a British point of view, Bradley Wiggins became an even greater sporting legend by winning the Olympic time trial only a week after becoming the first Brit to win the Tour de France.

    This was brilliant, but my bias when it comes to the Olympics is always with track and field and the most vivid memories tend to come from the Olympic stadium. Jessica Ennis winning the 800 at the end of the Heptathlon.

    Mo Farah becoming one of the all time greats of Olympic distance running. David Rudisha running the greatest 800m ever in a new world record, a race I'll remember for ever.

    But when you talk about athletics then you have to talk about one man and that's Usain Bolt. Now a living legend. An incredible athlete but a great person with personality, character and charisma. Three Gold medals, to add to the three from Beijing and 100 & 200m double double.

    The world of athletics and sport is lucky to have him.

    Having the Olympics on my doorstep

    The Olympics weren't just taking place in the Britain or in the city in which I live. They were taking place only 20 minutes from my house. I walked to the Olympic stadium and back when I went to the Games.

    You always dream of one day being able to go to the Olympic Games but being able to walk from your house in less than 30 minutes makes the Games even more special.

    Everyday for four years I've passed the Olympic Park, slowly watching it take shape. I've seen the regeneration of Stratford, and even though I'm not from the town or the East End of London, I've felt a great sense of pride in the fact that this is my home in London.

    Friday 10 August 2012

    London 2012: Where does Usain Bolt go from here?

    If Usain Bolt wasn't already an Olympic legend, he reminded us once again with his victory in the 200m last night.

    No athlete has ever done the double double of winning the 100 and 200m at successive Olympic Games.

    Like any great champion he silenced the doubters just when people thought he might be vulnerable to his training partner Yohann Blake.

    The big question now is what's left for Bolt to achieve?

    As an athletics fan, Bolt is without question the best thing that's ever happened to the sport. I feel proud that the world's biggest sports star does athletics.

    But what else can he do. Defend his titles in 2016 for a triple triple? That's never been done but would it capture the world's imagination? I don't think so.

    Like a lot of people I'd like to see him try the 400m but Bolt's said himself, he doesn't want to do the training which he thinks will be too hard.

    There's mention of the Long Jump but I don't know how serious he is about that.

    As Olympic legend Michael Johnson said on the BBC; athletics needs Usain Bolt, but he no longer need athletics.

    Thursday 9 August 2012

    London 2012: New role models for women

    If there's been one theme that's dominated the Olympics so far, it's been the success of female athletes.

    We've been introduced to a number of women athletes from a range of sports winning medals for Team GB.

    I can't remember a time where women have been so prominent in sport. It's an interesting development. I've noticed myself that I've never watched as much female sport in the last week.

    I've watched women's cycling, basketball, volleyball, badminton, rowing, football and athletics.

    Dani King, Joanna Rowsell, and Laura Trott celebrate winning cycling gold in the women's team pursuit.

    Rather than watching these sports and thinking the women's version is inferior to the mens; I've appreciated the skills and qualities from women athletes on their own merits. The women's basketball for example has been brilliant.

    It'll be interesting to see whether the success of women and the coverage they've received will give young girls and women new role models to look up to.

    I'd like to think so. For too long we've had a diet of reality tv stars, footballers wives and celebrity culture dominating - giving an unreal idea of what being successful is all about.

    The Olympics has provided an alternative where women's success has been based on commitment, dedication, hard work and skill - not merely having good looks.

    Perhaps some of us are getting carried away with the success of the Olympics. The fear is that in a few months time we'll return to a celebrity culture of the likes of the Kardashians, TOWIE and instant success represented by The X Factor.

    When they talk about legacies after the Games, hopefully we can see more women getting involved in sport and sport providing an alternative in terms of role models and healthy lifestyles to pursue.

    What do you think?

    Further reading

    Bye bye, Kardashians: Olympic athletes give women new, strong role models

    Women’s 2012 succes is a stepping stone to equality in sport,

    Wednesday 8 August 2012

    London 2012: The People's Games

    With only another week of the Olympics left, I have to say I've loved every minute of it. It's everything I expected and more.

    On Saturday evening my highlight was seeing Mo Farah coming round the bend into the home straight to win the 10,000m. All you could see were fans jumping up and down and Union Jack flags being waved in support. It was emotional to watch.

    That moment reminded me why these games have been so special so far. It's the passion and enthusiasm of the British public.

    Watching the cycling over the first weekend, the streets of South London and Surrey were packed with fans cheering the riders on. It's been the same at the Aquatics centre and most venues.

    Yes there has been some empty seats, but that's another story and one that can't be blamed on a lack of interest.

    The only other Olympics I can remember where the host nation has shown so much enthusiasm was Sydney in 2000, but I think we've bettered that.

    It's not just the passion for the sport that's been impressive. There's a feeling of pride in London holding the Games, we're doing a good job and enjoying the whole experience.

    This is a very British Olympics and people feel proud and patriotic, but without any hint of guilt or unease. It's been inspiring to see.

    It makes me smile when you look back to the years leading up to the Games. All those people who were a little indifferent, who thought it was a waste of money or that London wouldn't be able to cope.

    It's the equivalent of being invited to a party that you're don't feel like going to, but once you get there you suddenly realise you're having a great time. You can't believe you thought you wouldn't enjoy it!

    That sums up the public's reaction to the Games. Now that it's here we can't get enough of it.

    Tuesday 7 August 2012

    London 2012: Images of the Olympic Park

    After the end of the morning session of athletics, my sister and myself had a chance to explore the Olympic Park on Saturday.

    Spending the rest of the day inside the park was almost as enjoyable as watching the athletics. I loved every minute of being at the Olympics.

    It's huge and it must take at least a good 20 - 25 minutes to walk from the Olympic stadium all the way to the Velodrome and basketball arena.

    The atmosphere around the park was superb. So many people just happy to be there, knowing what a unique experience it is to be at an Olympic Games.

    I think the enthusiasm of the British public has helped make these Olympics so special.

    Everywhere you looked you saw people with Union flags and Team GB clothing. The longest queues weren't for food and drink, it was for the official London 2012 shops selling Team GB clothing and memorabilia.

    But the park wasn't just full of Brits loving the Olympic experience, there were so many people from around the world. People from the US, France, loads of Dutch and Belgians. Not surprisingly really, London is almost a home Olympics for them.

    Anyone who ever doubted the point of having the Olympics in this country should be made to spend time in the Park; even the most cynical would struggle not to be moved by the experience.

    When it came to leave at 8:30 in the evening, I really didn't want to go. I knew as soon as I left the park that would be it - the end of my Olympic experience.

    Who knows I may go to another Olympic Games, but I'll never be able to go to one that's a 20 minute walk from my house.

    Even now I wish I could turn the clock back and do it all again.

    Monday 6 August 2012

    London 2012: What is it about Jamaica?

    Being half Jamaican I take a lot of pride in the success of Usain Bolt and Jamaica's sprinters.

    Jamaica along with other Caribbean islands have come to dominate when it comes to sprinting.

    But even without athletics, Jamaica has still managed to grab and hold the world's attention. That's why I loved this article I read in the Guardian today:

    How Jamaica conquered the world

    It looks at how a small island of just under 3 million people has managed to punch above its weight both in sport, music and popular culture.

    It's an important time in the country's history as on Sunday it celebrated 50 years of independence.

    Since the Olympics began I've been supporting everything Team GB, but I also have great pride in my roots and everything Jamaica does both on and off the track.

    There's nothing wrong with having multiple identities. The last week's been amazing for British sport I loved every minute of it, but there's a part of me that's still Jamaican.

    For a small island Jamaica does a lot of big things.

    Sunday 5 August 2012

    London 2012: Athletics is back

    What an amazing night for British Athletics yesterday evening. Before the start of the Olympics nobody could have imagined we'd pick up 3 gold medals on the track in one evening.

    BBC commentator, Brendan Foster called it the greatest night in UK athletics history. I think it beats anything from the so called 'golden era' of British athletics in the 1980s.

    Firstly Jess Ennis claimed the Heptathlon Gold medal. I was in the Olympic stadium for yesterday's morning session and watched her in the Long Jump and Javelin.

    Her personal best in her third and final throw, essentially guaranteed gold. When it came to the final event of the 800m, she just needed to get round to secure victory.

    If the Gold medal by Ennis was the most craved and expected, then Greg Rutherford's victory in the Long Jump was totally left field - I really didn't see that coming.

    A winning jump of 8.31 is decent. Earlier in the week the legend that is Carl Lewis said that Long jumping wasn't particularly strong at the moment, the coaching hadn't moved on in 20 years.

    Greg Rutherford describes winning Olympic Gold.

    Admittedly there's no stand out names in the event and few people seem to be jumping 8.50 plus on a regular basis, but lets not take anything away from Rutherford, an unexpected but brilliant gold medal.

    And finally there was Mo Farah, the first Olympic victory by a British athlete ever in the 10,000m. I'm so please for him. For a long time he was a good athlete, but one that was never seriously going to challenge the dominance of the Ethiopians and Kenyans.

    After a disappointing 2008 Olympics, he went away and found a new coach in Alberto Salazar, a triple winner of the New York Marathon. He trained with the Kenyans in Kenya, did more altitude training in the Pyrenees and moved his family to Oregon in the US to train with Salazar. All the sacrifices were worth it after last night's victory.

    I'm so pleased for UK athletics. After football, athletics is my first and true love when it comes to sport. I want the sport to grow and succeed.

    It's important as so many sports are competing for lottery funding which is partly based on success. We've seen British rowers and cyclists dominate in previous Olympics and this has overshadowed athletics and called into question the performance and future funding of the team.

    Athletics will always be the premier event of the Olympics - I don't care how successful Team GB are in other sports. We have to have a strong athletics squad.

    Saturday 4 August 2012

    London 2012: Today I made my Olympic debut

    Today I made my Olympic debut. I had tickets for the morning session of the second day of athletics.

    As a sports fan and as a true fan of athletics, I know that today I achieved a life long dream. I've actually been to the Olympic games.

    When it comes to sport I don't think there's much that's going to top this. Maybe going a World Cup match, but for me the Olympics is the ultimate in sport.

    When the action started at 10:00 this morning, I kept thinking to myself: 'Am I really at the Olympic Games?'

    I was so lucky to get this session. I watched Jessica Ennis on her way to Gold in the Long Jump and Javelin. The reaction of the crowd everytime her name was mentioned was unbelievable.

    So much pressure, but you know what? She delivered - especially in the Javelin with a personal best with her final throw.

    I also saw the first rounds of the Men's 400m, Women's Steeplechase and Pole Vault. This was great, but the highlight was always going to be one event. It had to be the Men's 100m first round heats.

    If you look hard enough you'll see a certain Usain Bolt at the starting blocks.

    In the first race they announced former 100 & 200m World Champion Tyson Gay to the crowd. At that moment the Olympics just got serious.

    This is the Olympic stadium. This is Track and Field. This is the 100m - we're not messing about here!
    After Tyson Gay every heat featured a whose who of sprinting over the last 5 - 10 years.

    Next up the disgraced former Olympic Champion Justin Gaitlin. Banned twice for drug taking he surprisingly got a good reception from the crowd. I applauded him, but he's never really apologised or admitted to his drug taking so I didn't want him to do too well.

    After him there's was Asafa Powell - a former world record holder, but someone who mentally could never deal with the pressure when it mattered.

    Powell was followed by a certain Usain Bolt - the superstar and saviour of athletics. How amazing to see him just a few hundred yards in front of me. He jogged to qualification without having to make too much effort.

    Then there was 'the beast' Yohan Blake, called the beast due to how hard he trains. The biggest rival and training partner of Bolt. Can he upset the odds and win the Olympic title?

    It wasn't all about the favourites though; I loved the reception the British guys got. The up and coming youngster Adam Gemili who couldn't help but break out into a smile with the reception given to him by the home crowd, and finally Dwain Chambers.

    I'm sure he was just pleased to be here after his own drugs ban and battle to make it into the Olympics.

    What a day, what a privilege. You can't get bigger than the 100m.

    London 2012: I'm not interested in 'proper' news

    Since the Olympic Games began last week I've been living my life in an Olympic bubble. My life is the Olympics at the moment and I love every minute of it!

    Ok I still have to go to work, but even then I spend my working day listening to Radio 5 commentary - keeping up to date with everything Team GB

    I get home and spend the evening watching the Olympics. How I love the BBC's Red button. There's nothing you can't watch.

    If I want to spend the evening watching badminton I can do that, basketball, volleyball it doesn't matter, you can watch anything you want.

    The only problem is that the real world tries to butt in on the action. I'm just not interested in proper news.

    House of Lords reform? Whatever! Greedy bankers? Boring. The conflict in Syria? When the Assad regime's about to collapse let us know - until then lets get back to the Handball.

    At brief moments I've felt guilty, the Olympics is only sport - there's other stuff going on in the world.

    But at the moment sport has never played such an important and significant role in my life or that of the country.

    There's more drama, more conflict, more emotion taking place in the Olympics than anything that's happening in the real world. I know this can't last forever but I'm savouring every minute of it.

    What the hell am I going to do when the Olympics ends?

    Friday 3 August 2012

    London 2012: Stratford a town transformed

    If having the Olympics in London and the UK wasn't already incredible, the fact I live in Stratford and the Olympic Park is a 20 minute walk from my house has made the games even more special

    I've lived in Stratford for four years. Previously I'd been up the road in Bow and Mile End and I was sad to be leaving when I decided to move down to Stratford.

    Stratford Town Centre

    Anyone who knows East London will admit Stratford has never been the kind of place that's been attractive, cool or up and coming.

    When people talk about Olympic legacies, a good place to start is by looking at Stratford itself. I feel like I'm living in a different place.

    In four years I've watched the entire Olympic site be built, the Olympic stadium, the park, athletes village and the Westfields shopping centre.

    Inside the Westfields shopping center

    These all look amazing, but there's been a transformation of the old town as well. For so long Stratford always felt a bit grimey, down at heel, lacking in style, but all of a sudden Stratford's become something different.

    It's as if a fairy god mother has come along and waved a magic wand and made Stratford beautiful!

    I see the same streets and buildings I've always seen - when I walk through the town but something's different now.

    The town has a different feel and vibe about it; I can't even explain what it is but It's just something I feel.

    Whatever it is, Stratford will never be the same again but it will have changed for the better.

    Thursday 2 August 2012

    London 2012: It's not all about sport

    During the Olympics a number of different countries have set up national hospitality houses all across the city.

    It's a chance for countries to showcase and promote themselves and their culture to people living and visiting London. The hospitality houses are holding different events like exhibitions, concerts and parties - many are free to the public.

    With this in mind I decided to check out Casa Brasil at Somerset House, the official Brazilian House at the London Olympics.

    Casa Brasil at Somerset House

    I love Brazilian culture, and as the next Olympics in 2012 will be in Rio, this is a chance for Brazil to start introducing the world to all things Brazilian.

    In the main courtyard they've got a stage with singers, musicians and DJ's performing every evening.

    I also had a look at an exhibition called, From the Margin to the Edge: Brazilian Art and Design in the 21st Century. It's an exhibition showcasing work created over the last 10 years by a selection of Brazilian artists and designers.

    It was interesting as art and design isn't something you immediately associate with Brazil.

    I'll be checking out Casa Brasil again as it's open until 8 September.

    Wednesday 1 August 2012

    London 2012: Badminton hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons

    I've been watching badminton everyday this week which isn't a surprise as I play badminton every week. I've been playing since I was a kid.

    Last night I got home and started watching a ladies doubles match between China and South Korea. Both pairs were struggling with their serves, with a number of serves hitting the net.

    I thought 'I know exactly how they feel'. When you're under pressure a simple serve feels like the most difficult thing in the world to do - but something wasn't right in this game.

    There were no rallies and shots were continually going out or hitting the net. I got so fed up with the poor standard of play that I switched channels and started watching another badminton game.

    As we've now discovered it wasn't a case of players performing poorly under pressure, they both were deliberately trying not to win so they wouldn't finish top of their group and play one of the top seeds in the next round.

    No wonder the crowd watching started booing. This is the Olympic Games, people want to see athletes perform to the very best of their abilities but here you had a situation of players insulting the intelligence of the crowd by purposely trying not to lose.

    This game had a knock on effect, with the following game featuring another Korean pair against an Indonesian pair tried the same thing.

    The farce has resulted in all four pairs being kicked out of the Olympic Games today. It's the right decision, their performance goes against everything the Olympics is meant to be about.

    Clearly having a group stage doesn't work, and pure knockout competition is what's needed. From a personal point of view and as someone who loves and plays badminton, the players have tarnished the image of the sport.

    When you follow or play a minority sport, you know it will never receive much media coverage. The Olympic Games in a rare opportunity to showcase sports like badminton to the general public.

    Now instead of promoting the game and introducing it to a new audience, badminton has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons and wasted a great opportunity to show people what a great sport it can be.