The All England Badminton Championships is often described as the Wimbledon of badminton. But this cannot be further from the truth, at least monetarily.
A quarter-finalist at the Wimbledon gets a prize money of US $392,829. In contrast, a quarter-finalist at the All England gets a meagre US $4,675 in prize money.
Such low income has forced All England quarter-finalist and world No. 14 Zhang Beiwen to turn to crowdfunding to finance her tournament expenses.
Today, she launched a fundraiser campaign on Gofundme for US $15,000 to help cover her expenses for tournaments till the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The money raised will support her in her upcoming tournaments – Pan Am Championships, India Open, Malaysia Open and Singapore Open. It will also partly cover expenses for her coach at the Tokyo Olympics.
This is the second time she has been forced to ask for financial assistance on the internet. Her first Gofundme campaign was back in 2018, for her journey to the World Championships. She received a lot of support and was able to raise US $8,405, surpassing her initial campaign target of US $5,500.
The pandemic has also added to her financial burden. The lack of tournaments in 2020-21 due to the pandemic has meant less income for her from tournaments and sponsorships.
Before Covid-19, Zhang used to stay at Airbnbs and unofficial hotels to save her expenses. Tournaments in 2021 however require all players to stay in the official hotel to ensure health safety protocols, which means a 4-time increase in her expenses as compared to before.
This is also the reason why she was unable to participate in the three tournaments in Thailand in January.
She resorted to coaching juniors during the pandemic. But the income from coaching has been quite limited as well.
Zhang has been the number one women’s singles player in the U.S.A. for the last 8 years and she has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
On her Gofundme page, she wrote, “I appreciate any and all the help I can get from you guys. I will do my best to represent the U.S.A. in this year’s Olympics and hopefully inscribe my name in the history books forever!”