Security concerns, a swine-flu scare and the English team pulling out was definitely not the ideal start to the World Badminton Championship. After all, the event was to kickstart India's effort to find a place on the world map as a competent host as the country gears up to host a number of marquee events in the run up to the 2010 Games in New Delhi.
Soon after England's pull out Scotland's Susan Egelstaff made a valid point. "India is hosting the Commonwealth Games next year and it (English pull out) is not a very good advertisement."
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Indian government were aware of the bad publicity and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had to clarify the security situation and the state government did everything to ensure the tournament's smooth conduct.
Security issues dominated the start of the tournament and the unannounced withdrawal of an Austrian men's doubles pair only compounded matters. Badminton World Federation Chief Operating Officer, Thomas Lund, however, praised BAI for the conduct of the event. "We had to deal with a lot of external events. It was a challenge and we have come through it fairly well," he added.
On the sports front, China once again proved their supremacy pocketing four gold medals. The Danish mixed doubles pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Thomas Laybourn bagged their first gold medal since 2003. Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen added a bronze to Denmark's tally while Indonesia bagged three silvers. Korea bagged a silver and a bronze and France won its first world championship medal.
India's wait for another world championship title was extended by another year but the home side's shuttlers showed that they were getting closer to the best in the world. Saina Nehwal failed to make it to the semifinal but the grit she showed in playing the tournament 10 days after suffering from chicken pox was testimony to her fighting spirit. Men's singles players Chetan Anand and P Kashyap also impressed with Kashyap being the only player other than eventual champion Lin Dan to win a game against second seed Chen Jin. India also had their first mixed-doubles quarterfinalists but Jwala Gutta and V Diju were well below par against silver medallist Liliyana Natsir and Nova Widianto.
Overall the tournament did not really prove India's capability as hosts and it remains to be seen whether administrators learn from the experience here and make the Commonwealth Games a grand success.