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New ranking system puts top shuttlers in a spot

Top players like world No 7 Saina Nehwal, Chetan Anand and Aditi Mutatkar may have to go through the qualifying rounds for next month’s first national ranking tournament — Tata Open — if the Badminton Association of India goes ahead with its new ranking system. Abhijeet Kulkarni reports.

other Updated: Jun 13, 2009 02:54 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni

Top players like world No 7 Saina Nehwal, Chetan Anand and Aditi Mutatkar may have to go through the qualifying rounds for next month’s first national ranking tournament — Tata Open — if the Badminton Association of India (BAI) goes ahead with its new ranking system.

The game’s apex body at its annual general body meeting in March decided to discontinue the practice of adding 10 per cent of a player’s international ranking points to his/her domestic ranking points after it was found that some players were misusing the rule.

While the intentions behind the change have been welcomed, the lack of national ranking tournaments in the previous season has led to a peculiar situation.

The three players mentioned above don’t find a place in the new domestic ranking list since they skipped the senior nationals as well as the lone ranking event due to injuries or other commitments because of which they may not get direct entries.

Though all three have been invited to play in the tournament, which begins here on July 1, Saina and Chetan are yet to confirm and could be waiting to see how the impasse is resolved.

U. Vimal Kumar, tournament director, admitted they are also worried and have requested the BAI to consider their international rankings points for the initial tournaments.

“These players are top draws in any domestic tournament,” he told Hindustan Times from Bangalore.

“If we get them wild cards and they don’t get a seeding due to lack of ranking points, it can affect the entire tournament. “We have got a positive response from the officials and are hopeful that things will fall in place before the seeding list and draws are made,” he added.

National coach Pullela Gopi Chand also admitted that the lack of tournaments last season has created such a situation but said the new system has long-term benefits.

“After one full season there will be no such problems. A temporary solution can be found to resolve the issue now,” he
added.