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Badminton World Federation to review its crammed calendar in May

The Badminton World Federation launched a new calender in 2018, replacing the erstwhile Superseries events with a World Tour, which comprises different grades.

other sports Updated: Jan 30, 2018 21:41 IST
Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Spanish shuttler Carolina Marin pose for a photograph during a press conference of India Open badminton tournament in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth and Spanish shuttler Carolina Marin pose for a photograph during a press conference of India Open badminton tournament in New Delhi on Tuesday.(PTI)

The crammed international calender came under severe criticism from shuttlers across the globe and BWF today said it would review the schedule during its Annual General Meeting in May at Bangkok.

The BWF launched a new calender in 2018, replacing the erstwhile Superseries and Superseries Premier with a ‘World Tour’, which comprises different grades and levels.

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The governing body also made it compulsory for the world’s top 15 players in the singles events and top 10 pairs in the doubles to play a minimum of 12 tournaments, a move which was slammed by top players.

The new format chalked out by BWF will be graded into Super1000, Super750 and Super500 categories. The top players need to play the mandatory 12 tournaments from these categories.

BWF vice-president Vishu Toolan said:”I know there are lot of matches and we are not going to disregard the feedback of the players. We understand it is a tough tour and we are listening. We would be reviewing it.”

“We have brought in some really big sponsorships. We want to establish a viable tour from which all players can benefit. We have to try to maximise their earning potential by exposing them to more matches.

“But we are also not going to sacrifice the players. BWF meets twice a year and we would be looking at it be in May at Bangkok. I am not saying that we would change it but it will come up for discussion,” he said.

Toolan further explained: “For 10 years, we had super series, it is a long time. We need to change because we don’t have a perfect system or a perfect solution.

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“In India, badminton is number two but in international scale badminton is not no 2, specially North American and some European countries. So if Asia backs out, the sports will be in trouble.”

BWF also decided to try a new service rule starting at the All England Open Championships. According to the new rule, “the whole of the shuttle should be below 1.15m from the surface of the court at the instant of being hit by the server’s racket.”

This decision also received a lot of flak with World No 1 Viktor Axelsen terming it “ridiculous”.

Asked why it is being tried at All England Championship, Toolan said: “We wanted to try it at the All England because it is a big tournament and it is something we can showcase there and it is a good way to make a splash.”

Talking about the challenges ahead, Toolan, who is here for the $350,000 India Open Super 500 tournament, said: “There would be some more changes shortly and we will listen to the players.

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“Badminton is growing and HSBC is our commercial partners, there would be more money coming for players and we have some responsibility to our sponsors and public to make the game more attractive and faster.

“The age of viewers have come down from older to younger people and youth now wants instant gratification. So when we moved from five games to rally point system, they were saying its too long. So we have to be ready for change.”

BWF has also been mulling to change the scoring format from the 21x3 rally to 11x5 format and even tried out the new system in a few tournaments last year.

Asked about the 11-point format, the BWF official said: “The 11-point system is on the cards and it is something that’s been discussed. We would listen to the players and see if it is possible to do that.”