Olympic Games bronze medallist Saina Nehwal of India wants the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to limit the number of women’s singles players from China in all international tournaments in a bid to end their domination in the event.
Saina, the 2008 world junior champion, is frustrated at having to deal with a host of players from China in every single tournament.
That, she claims, has been “mentally draining”.
In the ongoing World Championships at Copenhagen, China are represented by four women’s singles players – top seed Li Xuerui, second seed Wang Shixian, third seed Wang Yihan and 11th seed Han Li.
In the Olympic Games, a country can have a maximum of three players – and China usually have the maximum number of representation. They go into the Games with a possible 1-2-3 sweep.
In the Superseries, at times, China parade five to six players of equal calibre.
“It has not been easy to compete at the highest level. The number of players from China is just too many. Badminton is all about China,” said Saina.
Since graduating from the junior to the senior ranks in 2008, Saina has won only seven Superseries titles – with her latest being the Australian Open this year.
“It’s never easy to get past two or three of them. Beating two of them is great and you can consider yourself lucky if you get past a third one,” she said.
“It’s hard for one player to go against all of them consistently. We used to have couple of good European players but after Denmark’s Tine Rasmussen’s retirement, there have not been many good ones.
“Just look at Ratchanok (Intanon, Thailand). She has not won any Superseries titles since becoming the world champion last year. It’s just getting harder.”
Saina hopes that the BWF would consider her proposal and that China would be considerate as well – all for the sake of badminton’s development.
“We need to open up a bit more. China must give others a chance to come up in badminton also. If not, it will be difficult for others and not many want to make this their career.”
Saina should know.
In India, besides her and P.V. Sindhu, it is tough to get women to take up the sport on a full-time basis.