SportsWeb's badminton pages are providing news coverage, courtesy of Reuters, in the run-up to the event. They inform us that in the grand prix in Brunei last month the English mixed doubles Simon Archer and Jo Goode reached the final, beating the world No 1 and three pairings on the way.
Other news of the All England Open to break on SportsWeb was the break- up of men's doubles European and national title holders, Simon Archer and Chris Hunt, who had reached No 4 in the world but have since slid outside the top 10. With each having new partners ready for Birmingham, and the World Championships in May, it could be the prelude to an English assault on the international circuit. SportsWeb will be carrying live results from the NIA.
The International Badminton Federation's home page is a useful resource for getting an overview of the international scene, with its week-by-week calendar complete with hot links to tournament official home pages - something the All England does not have, which seems odd for a prestigious four- star event on the world grand prix circuit.
As well as tournament links, there is federation news, statutes, plans for developing the game and all the things that committees revel in - and potentially cause grief at the grass-roots. For a minority sport, the site attracts plenty of visitors - about 8,000 a month.
The IBF also provides world rankings - in great detail - for every registered player in each category. That's 469 in the men's singles alone, which is 15 pages of statistics to delight the fans.
The Badminton Association of England has no detailed tournament information, but does have an e-mail address on site for queries, and a phone number for credit card purchases of tickets.
It seems keener on the post, fax and phone than the Web. Even its pitch for potential advertisers does not have a hot link to the events director. If you're wondering, pounds 8,000 gets you a promo stand, hospitality box, 20 tickets per session and a couple of courtside boards for the cameras which will send 150 hours of TV coverage to 23 countries.
The unambiguously named Badminton site is the best non-official site to head for. It has links to official organisations throughout the world as well as to pages that will interest players at an amateur level: where to hire courts in whatever part of the world you find yourself in, equipment manufacturers and vendors etc.
There is a veritable online encyclopaedia of information about the game, techniques to practise, badminton's rules and its history. There is also a comprehensive selection of player profiles and links to still pictures and RealAudio and RealVideo clips. Site Addresses
International Badminton Federation
Badminton Association of England