COPENHAGEN: China’s Li Xuerui launched a stinging attack on India’s Saina Nehwal after checking into the women’s singles quarter-final of the World Championships at the Bellarup Super Arena.
The 23-year-old Xuerui was not happy with Saina’s call to limit the number of Chinese women’s singles players in international tournaments as a way to end China’s domination.
Saina’s reasoning was that it will provide more chances for other nations – not only India - to have a fair crack at winning titles.
That did not go down well with Xuerui.
“Let her (Saina) beat me first, then we can talk,” said Xuerui after disposing of her older compatriot Han Li 21-9, 21-17 in a third-round match in just 27 minutes on Thursday.
“Even if the number is reduced, she still has to beat players from China to win titles. We will still be her opponents.
“Saina’s issue is not only with us. Is she winning regularly against other non-China players? Maybe she should start beating them first,” added Xuerui, who has lost twice to Saina in nine meetings.
Japan chief coach Park Joo-bong, however, sided with Saina, saying the Badminton World Federation (BWF) should look into it.
“It’s a new thought ... but a good one. Some other sports have limited entries of players from every nation,” said Joo-bong.
“South Korea had dominated archery for some time. Then, the rules and formats were changed so that other nations will also have a chance of challenging. It seemed fair.
“BWF are always on the lookout for changes ... maybe this is something for them to consider.”
BWF president Poul-Erik Hoyer said that the world body had no plans to make any immediate changes to the rules.
“We are open to suggestions and opinions but, for now, we hope players will stick to the current rules,” said Hoyer.