Chong Wei welcomes shorter matches, fewer events

Lee Chong Wei believes that having fewer events in the Thomas Cup will open it up to more title contenders.

KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s face lit up at the thought of changes that the Badminton World Federation (BWF) might make for the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals.

The 31-year-old Chong Wei expressed his favour over a proposal to change the format of the future Thomas-Uber Cup Finals.

The world body is toying with the idea of shortening the format of play by reducing the number of events. Instead of five events, they are considering having just one singles and two doubles events.

This is a proposal made by the BWF’s events committee and it will be discussed at this year’s council meeting, which will be held during the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals from May 18-25 in New Delhi.

Chong Wei, who will play in the first singles in New Delhi, in his sixth edition of the Finals, believes the new format will add to the excitement.

“I believe it will be fair to most countries. I am game for it,” said an excited Chong Wei after a training session at Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.

“China have depth in both the singles and doubles so they may not appreciate this change. But I think, it will open up the fight for other countries to be title contenders,” said Chong Wei.

“South Korea will be stronger. Denmark will be dangerous. Malaysia too. The standard between the Asian and European teams will draw closer. I do not see one team dominating and it will make it more thrilling.

“I believe some other smaller nations will also thrive under this format and it will be good for the sport.”

According to Chong Wei, the world body may also tweak the scoring format in the Finals.

“I hear they may use the 21-point scoring for the first two games and shorten the rubber game to only 11 points. This format was used during the Indian Badminton League (IBL) last year,” said Chong Wei, expressing his support for this idea.

“Some of the women’s doubles matches can last for one and a half hours ... that is too long. The match can be shorter if the scoring format is changed. Everyone wants matches to be short and explosive nowadays.”

On the decision of BWF not to exercise their right to award wildcard entries for this year’s World Championships in Copenhagen from Aug 25-31, Chong Wei said that the world body had been fair not to give it to five-time world champion Lin Dan of China, as they did last year.

While he welcomes the competition, Chong Wei said it is not right in principle.

“If all the other players fight hard to qualify while Lin Dan gets a free entry ... it doesn’t seem right.

“Last year, the World Championships were held at his home (Guangzhou, China) and the world body knew it would attract the fans, so they gave him a wildcard. I think they have been fair this time,” added Chong Wei.

If all goes well, Chong Wei’s first clash against Lin Dan in a major event this year will take place at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-29.

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