I can’t understand the logic of proposed new badminton rules: Pullela Gopichand


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The Badminton World Federation’s proposal to reduce on-court coaching and tweak the scoring system has left international coaches a confused lot with the likes of Pullela Gopichand and Kenneth Jonassen questioning the very logic of such a move.

The BWF council has proposed that on-court coaching, which is allowed at the 11-point lemon break and at the end of every game in a match, be reduced but hasn’t explicitly specified to what extent.

The world body’s panel has also called for a best-of-five format instead of the current three-game structure. It has also been suggested that games be of 11 points each instead of the current 21-point format.

Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand said he doesn’t have any idea how the on-court reduction of coaching would be implemented and neither does understand the logic behind it.

“I don’t know what are the supposed changes, I haven’t seen the detailed draft, so I really don’t know. I think there was a time when there was no on-court coaching and then they added it. Now again they want to reduce it. So, I don’t understand the logic behind it,” Gopichand said.

Denmark’s chief coach Kenneth Jonassen, who guided Viktor Axelsen to world championship gold and the world no 1 ranking, believes on-court coaching is a unique feature of badminton and gives fans an interesting insight.

“It’s my belief that on-court coaching makes badminton different from other sports which we are competing against – it’s unique. From what I understand – TV loves it, gives everyone an insight to what is actually going on and therefore is a better product for viewers to watch,” Jonassen said in an e-mail response.

“I don’t think it is in the best interest of the sport to shorten the game duration. It is stupidity. Probably television has a role to play and it is unfortunate,” he said.

The 74-year-old Arif, who has coached several players, including Gopichand, Jwala Gutta and Saina Nehwal, said : “I think it will lead to a slam-bang way of playing the sport but after some time, they will realise that even in this format, endurance would become the key and long rallies will come into play.”

BWF is already trying a new service rule starting at next month’s All England Championship where it has been made mandatory to keep the shuttle height constant at 1.15m from the surface of the court during service.

“The new service height is – discriminating against tall players – what is next – different weight classes? Enforce the existing rules instead of making new ones which are hopeless.” Jonassen said.The formal proposals from the BWF Council will be circulated on March 30 to the membership in preparation for the BWF Annual General Meeting in Bangkok on May 19.


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