Date:08/04/2005 URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2005/04/08/stories/2005040800641700.htm
By Our Sports Reporter
HYDERABAD, APRIL 7. The International Badminton Federation has decided to experiment with some sweeping changes aimed at reducing the duration of matches to woo more sponsors to the sport.
Mr. Punch Gunalan, Vice President of IBF and also Secretary General of the Asian Badminton Confederation, said that one of the major innovations would be to bring the scoring pattern of volleyball and table tennis into badminton wherein the player not only loses the serve but also the point.
"This has become essential to make the sport more spectator friendly. A worldwide research by qualified people has given us a feedback that suggested some drastic changes were needed in the rules of the game. We have also started the process of getting a feedback from the players," he said. "Another major experimentation which will be tried out in some of the big events over the next couple of months, will be to reduce the size of the court by taking off the backline in doubles competition so as to enable the players to serve high as in the case of singles," Mr. Gunalan pointed out.
Another idea that by his own admission seems extremely drastic, but which is gaining ground in IBF circles, is to let the players go for the serve from the baseline as in tennis.
"It may sound incredible. But we are forced to look into various options available to make the sport more popular and woo the sponsors," the ABC official stated.
It was also learnt that some of the new ideas would be tried out during the ABC Championship in Hyderabad. According to the research conducted, the Thomas and the Uber Cup matches last six to seven hours every day and this has deterred many television networks from opting to telecast them live Mr. Gunalan said.
"The research also revealed that the players are getting injured quite frequently because of the existing duration of the matches. So, whatever we are planning is being done after taking into consideration the interests of our players," he asserted.
To stress his point, the ABC official said unlike the seven-point rule, which was imposed straightaway from the traditional 15-point format after the 2001 All England championship, the new ideas will be implemented only after there is a clear unanimity amongst the players and the officials.
Significantly, Mr. Gunalan also revealed that from 2007 a World Badminton League championship would be organised which would see some of the countries host matches for over a week.
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