Some will play along, some won’t to 11x5 point system

Wrong move: Tan Kian Meng believes new format will make the game less enjoyable.

PETALING JAYA: Badminton World Federation (BWF) president Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen’s relentless attempt to replace the existing 21-point best-of-three-game (21x3) scoring format to a “shorter and more exciting” 11-point best-of-five (11x5) format has sparked mixed reactions from the national badminton fraternity.

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director Wong Choong Hann believes the 21x3 format would appeal more to spectators as it put the shuttlers’ overall strength to the test.

Choong Hann was quick to compare the 11x5 system to the 7x5 format which was introduced back in 2002 with a similar intention of shortening the length of a match.

But it backfired, lasting almost a year before the 15x3 system was reinstated.

“The 11x5 system, if implemented, might reduce the competitiveness of the game,” said Choong Hann.

“I have played the 7x5 format back then and a match could be over in no time. It could be won in three games and it would take fewer than 20 minutes or so.

“How can the fans appreciate and be touched by the beauty of the game? Will the sport be going backwards instead with the change?”

Mixed doubles shuttler Tan Kian Meng echoed Choong Hann’s sentiment, saying that the match duration will be drastically shortened but it makes the game less enjoyable.

“Most players are going to play with the intention to attack, so you will see less defensive techniques (in a match),” said Kian Meng, who’s ranked No. 11 in the world with Lai Pei Jing.

“There’s an advantage, however, as a shorter duration of the match means a player’s career can be prolonged. But I personally still prefer the 21x3 system.”

But if there’s one player who’s game for a change, it is seasoned campaigner Chan Peng Soon.

The 31-year-old is in favour of the “refreshing” 11x5 format, saying it would do the sport a whole world of good.

“It’s going to inject freshness into the sport. In my opinion, it’s good for the sport as we have been sticking to the 21-point system for quite sometime,” he said.

“Everyone is going to get excited. It’s not only the fans, even the coaches and players will be wondering how the playing style of a shuttler would evolve to adapt to the format. Who will be the best in this system?

“How will (Japan’s Kento) Momota, (Denmark’s Viktor) Axelsen, (Taiwan’s Tai) Tzu-ying approach the new format? Will Kevin (Sanjaya Sukamuljo)-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon (of Indonesia) still be as dominant?

“All these talking points are set to generate enthusiasm in the sport once again.”

Peng Soon said the 11x5 system may not necessarily reduce the length of a match.

“The match could end up longer than you think. If you really play all the way to the fifth game, it could last for an hour,” said Peng Soon.

“I remember when we first started to play the 21x3 format, we were all made to believe that the game could be shortened. But in the end, there were matches taking even two hours to complete!”

Former international Woon Khe Wei admitted she would consider coming out of retirement if the 11x3 system is implemented.

“Potential comeback from me?” posted Khe Wei on her Instagram.

“If the 11-point system is being introduced, then I should really consider returning. What do you think?” she teased her 87,000 Instagram followers.

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Wong Choong Hann , badminton , BAM , BWF , scoring system


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