The YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships has always held a special place in the badminton calendar.
After all this is the world’s most prestigious badminton tournament and every one of the game’s all-time greats have played here.
And this year marks a significant moment for the Championships, with the 2023 edition being the 30th to be held at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham.
Birmingham has proven to be a hugely successful host of the event, with the All England Championships going from strength to strength in its time in the Second City.
New city, new milestones
The All England was first held in 1899, and across the next 94 years it was held in a range of venues across London.
Wembley Arena was a long-term host for the Championships, hosting from 1957 to 1993 until the event made the move to the Second City.
And that move has undoubtedly been a huge success, with the event now bigger and better than ever.
The event was given Super Series status in 2007, and was then upgraded to Super Series Premier status in 2011 – cementing its place at the heart of the badminton world.
The All England has continued to make its mark within badminton but has also made a huge mark on Birmingham itself, becoming a vital part of the city’s sporting fabric.
Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “30 years of hosting the YONEX All England Open Championships here in Birmingham is a tremendous achievement and testament to the fact that this is a truly global sporting city.
“It’s a major coup for Birmingham to annually host the world’s biggest and best badminton tournament, and following last summer’s sensational Commonwealth Games, it’s fantastic to be hosting another prestigious global sporting event.
“Birmingham 2022 showcased just why badminton is considered one of the fastest and most exciting sports in the Commonwealth Games and we can expect more world-class action next month.”
Legends write their name in YONEX history
The 29 previous editions of the All England Championships that have taken place in Birmingham have seen some of badminton’s greatest champions write their name in the history books.
Perhaps no one has done more so than Gao Ling and Huang Sui, who together won the women’s doubles tournament for six straight years between 2001 and 2006.
The likes of Lee Chong Wei, Tine Baun and Lin Dan have also won multiple titles at the event, while recent years have seen modern-day greats like Viktor Axelsen, Carolina Marin, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, and Tai Tzu-Ying all lift the famous trophy.
The first edition of the event in 1994 saw English duo Nick Ponting and Joanne Wright win the mixed doubles title, while Wright returned to win the title alongside Simon Archer in 1999.
And the most recent home-grown champions came in 2005, when Nathan Robertson and Gail Emms claimed the mixed doubles crown.
Who goes on to seal their place in Championships history in 2023 remains to be seen, but it promises to be another incredibly special year as the tournament’s relationship with Birmingham continues to blossom.