Jens Christensen, Badminton Statistics
Why do statistics matter in sports? The story of sports is written in numbers. The entire objective of competitive sport is to achieve a measurable end, and obtain a bigger or smaller number than someone else. The best in sports are literally defined by the lowest or highest digits.
In some sports it’s simple. We can definitively say that Usain Bolt is the fastest human ever over 100 meters. In other sports it’s not so easy. It’s generally agreed that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever, yet there are 4 players who have scored more points than him and no less than 9 players with more championships. Yet, if you look closer at the numbers, it becomes evident why he is commonly considered the greatest (just search for “why Michael Jordan is the best” on Youtube if you want your next week occupied).
Numbers get people excited. In 1998 American baseball experienced one of its biggest hypes in recent history when not one, but two players managed to beat the 37-year old record for most home runs in a season (Lets just skim over the fact that both players were since dinged for steroid use). I suspect in a few years we could see a similar media frenzy around the NBA if LeBron James continues on and beats the all-time scoring record.
Badminton fans aren’t any different from any other sports fans (Well, we’re obviously smarter and better looking, right?). We like to know who did this or that best, who was the youngest, who was the oldest, who made the craziest comeback, and so on. Unlike many other sports though, badminton statistics are not generally available anywhere. Sure, a player’s Wikipedia page will hopefully tell you how many titles a player has won, and perhaps their highest spot on the ranking list, but typically that’s about as much as you can get (not that we should undervalue that – whoever wrote and edited those Wikipedia pages deserves the highest praise possible for their efforts) but, like an entitled millennial, we want more than that.
A few years ago I myself had a question about some statistics in badminton. I honestly can’t remember exactly what it was, but it was something that could easily be answered if there had been a table with the relevant match data. Despite much searching I was unable to find such a thing anywhere and after a little while I figured that if you want something done, then do it yourself. I wrote a little script that grabbed some basic data from BWF’s tournament software site, and put it in a good old-fashioned MS Access database.
Predictably once one question had been answered new ones arose, and the database rapidly outgrew its humble beginnings, and had to be moved to a “proper” database which could handle the rapidly spiraling amount of data.
It was also around this time, I started thinking: “If I’m interested in this, there must be other people/nerds with the same interests”. And not long after that, almost exactly one year ago, BadmintonStats was born on Twitter
I was honestly surprised by the volume of positive responses I received from day 1, and this of course encouraged me to keep working on the project. Progress was pretty slow as I had plenty to do just keeping up with the new data coming in every week and keeping everything updated with that. And then Corona happened…
Suddenly I had all the spare time in the world. What was I to do? Well, first of all I finally had time to collect all the data I possibly could and spend many, many hours going over the data, trying to make sure it is as accurate as humanly possible.
Secondly, I now had the time to throw out the old website, start from scratch, and create the website that I had wanted to all along, one that I would want to use, with all the features that I would like to see.
You can visit the website at badmintonstatistics.net. I hope that it fills the spot that I personally thought was lacking in the badminton nerd ecosystem.
I wanted to see more detailed stats for each player, so I added filters to the player pages. Now you can select for certain options, for example by opponents country, hand or rank, and more options will be added.
Hall of Fame:
I wanted a place to see all the top records, so I made a page with all of the best records gathered in one spot.
I want to know the rankings going back further than 2009, as the BWF rankings to, so I created the Unified Rankings, which essentially extends the BWF rankings back to 1990.
I wanted a place to display all the statistics I make
Some of the pages are still a little empty, but the site is designed so I can dynamically add new reports in. In the last few weeks I have obviously been quite busy with the functionality and design of the website, but now that it is up and running I can concentrate more on the content and hopefully make this the go-to place for all badminton-related statistical questions.