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Saturday January 19, 2013

BWF heeds Chong Wei’s call to give players break from hectic tournament schedule

THE Badminton World Federation (BWF) have heard world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s call to give players a break from the hectic tournament schedule and have promised to make changes.

And that is not the only good news for the nation as BWF are also looking at Malaysia to be the first nation to use the instant replay system to allow players to challenge calls at the Sudirman Cup in Kuala Lumpur from May 19-26.

In fact, test runs on instant replays are currently taking place in the ongoing Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium.

Yesterday, BWF’s deputy president Paisan Rangsikitpho said that the world body were looking at reviewing the tournament calendar for the next four cycles from 2014-2018.

On Friday, Chong Wei had questioned BWF’s tournament calendar and reiterated that the tight schedule hardly gave players the space to breathe. And as a result, many suffer injuries leading to constant walkovers and retirements in Open tournaments.

There were withdrawals and retirements in the season-opening Korean Open last week and the ongoing Malaysian Open.

Said Paisan on Chong Wei’s recent statement and also pleas made by Indonesian Taufik Hidayat and even China’s head coach Li Yongbo on the hectic tournament calendar: “We have heard. We are now reviewing the 2014-2018 calendar and will look into give a break for the players – either earlier or in the middle of the year.”

“We have to look into many things as there are years when there are Olympic Games, Thomas Cup and Asian Games and we do not want the whole structure to collapse. We may adjust the tournaments so that players do not have to play in a cold climate one week and hot another (like the back-to-back Korean and Malaysian Open). We are working on it.”

On the instant replays, Paisan said that the ongoing Malaysian Open is the first tournament to test such technology to ensure the line calls were more accurate.

“The players are unaware of this but we are doing the tests behind the scene here. We are pushing for this technology be ready for the upcoming Sudirman Cup here in Malaysia.”

On the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s (BAM) president Datuk Seri Nadzmi Mohd Salleh’s decision to stand for election in May, Paisan was happy that many Asians are taking up the challenge to lead the world body.

Besides Nadzmi, the other candidate for the post is Indonesia’s Justian Suhandinata.

“It is good to see more candidates from the Asian countries. It is important to work together. I still have confidence that badminton will remain as an Olympic sport as long as we do not have internal problems and keep up our work to promote the game,” he added.

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