Wee Kiong says new fixed service rule a positive change

A happy man: Tan Wee Kiong (right) posing for a photograph with wife Chia Shi Ling after their wedding reception yesterday.

A happy man: Tan Wee Kiong (right) posing for a photograph with wife Chia Shi Ling after their wedding reception yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Shuttler Tan Wee Kiong has given the thumbs up to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) for experimenting with a new fixed service rule in tournaments next year.

Doubles specialist Wee Kiong said that it was a timely move, considering that players were unhappy with the present service rule.

Wee Kiong has had some bad experiences with the most unforgettable one at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Wee Kiong and Goh V Shem were on the brink of delivering Malaysia’s first-ever Olympic gold after holding two match points at 20-19 and 21-20. And twice V Shem’s service was faulted and the Malaysians lost their composure to lose 21-16, 11-21, 21-23 to Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan of China.

Wee Kiong and V Shem have since gone separate ways after a meltdown in their partnership this year.

Wee Kiong now partners Ong Yew Sin while V Shem’s partner is Teo Ee Yi.

Said Wee Kiong: “The height has been increased. I believe it’ll give a clearer picture to the service judge whether to fault a player or not.

“They will be using measuring devices. The umpires will be trained too. So, we hope the calls will be more accurate in future.”

The new service rule says that the whole shuttle shall be below 1.15m from the surface of the court at the moment it touches the server’s racquet.

Previously, it was fixed at 1.1m.

The new service rule will be experimented from March 1, beginning with the All-England in Birmingham from March 14-18.

On the BWF’s decision to scrap the qualifying tournaments for the major Open tournaments under the revised World Tour next year, Wee Kiong admitted that it would make life difficult for him and Yew Sin.

“We’ll start the new season with a low world ranking. We need to be in the top 32 to play in big tournaments,” said Wee Kiong.

“It’ll take time for us to make our way to the top. It’ll be challenging but Yew Sin and I will work harder to improve our world ranking,” he added.

Wee Kiong-Yew Sin are the world No. 76 while V Shem-Ee Yi are at No. 92. The two Malaysian pairs ranked ahead of them are Chooi Kah Ming-Low Juan Shen (No. 32) and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani (No. 42).

The BWF’s new tournament structure for next season is divided into two grades.

Grade One comprises all major tournaments like the Olympics, Thomas-Uber Cup Finals, Sudirman Cup and World Junior Championships.

Grade Two has six levels.

Level One consists of the World Tour Finals (formerly known as the World Super­series Finals).

The All-England, Indonesian Open and China Open are in Level Two while the Opens in Malaysia, China, Denmark, France and Japan are in Level Three.

The qualifying tournaments have been scrapped for Level Two and Level Three. Only the best 32 players in the world will feature in the main draw.

“There are many changes next year and I aim to start afresh,” said the 28-year-old Wee Kiong after his wedding reception with Chia Shi Leng, also 28, in a leading hotel here yesterday.