Badminton is poorly served by this decision…

Shuttlecock-up or conspiracy? Oh, there is no doubt in the mind of this semi-competent hitter of the yellow plastic feathers (real feathers being an extravagance at our Thursday night session).

Badminton has been treated shabbily by the decision to cut all funding for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The sport, along with six other disciplines, has lost its appeal against UK Sport funding cuts, and will not receive any of the £5.7m it was given last time.

GB Badminton said it was “staggered” by the decision to reject its appeal, say the BBC. Putting aside the fact that staggering is mostly what I do on the court, as well as lunatic lunges and occasional flashes of something approaching competence, I sympathise fully.

Badminton is a great game at any level – and truly blinding to watch at the top-flight level.

In a typical display of nonsense-speak, UK Sport chief executive Liz Nicholl said none of the seven sports had provided “critically compelling new evidence” that changed the assessment of their medal.

Further words falling from her mealy mouth regarding the disappointed sports were: “Their position in our meritocratic table therefore remains unchanged and they remain in a band we cannot afford to invest in.”

Their position in our meritocratic table… oh, come off it with your technocratic weasel phrases. It’s just the usual ugly rush to lionise the grabbing of medals in athletics – nothing wrong with athletics, but this national obsession with winning medals at all costs is another poor reflection on the over-moneyed Olympics. Just more public money being pumped into the human medal factory.

Surely some of that cash still should go to badminton – a sport than can be played by anyone at any level. Encouraging participation in sport should be part of the return on our investment, and badminton is the perfect sport for anyone and everyone who wants to give the game a go.

It’s also fantastic to watch at top levels. As you would discover if you saw our bunch on a Thursday night. We may be middle-aged bumblers but we have fun, even if that bald bloke with the glasses does occasionally lose his rag – although not as often as he fails to find it when playing squash.

Shuttlecock-up or conspiracy? Oh, the intrigue and treachery option for sure.

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