PETALING JAYA: The main talking point of the recently-concluded Super Series Finals was as much about world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei winning a record fourth title as it was about the instant review system.
Chong Wei may be 31 years old but he continued to astound everyone with his latest win, adding to the three straight Finals victories he achieved from 2008.
This was also his seventh Super Series title – the first time he has won that many in a single calendar year.
The 3,500 fans who packed the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium in Cheras for the final also deserved praise for making the tournament a memorable one for the players with their lively cheering … except for the unpleasant “abuse” towards the shuttlers from China.
Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying and Denmark’s Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen clearly benefited from the strong support in their respective finals – women’s singles and mixed doubles. And they showed their appreciation with some superb displays on court.
For all the action on the court, it was the instant review system that stood out.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) deserve credited for finally bringing some changes to the game – especially the introduction of the instant review system and the redraw format for the semi-finals, which was meant to curb manipulation, especially by China’s players.
Unfortunately, the instant review system proved rather confusing to everyone – the players, fans, media and even the officials themselves.
The communication between the match umpire and the tournament referee, who sits behind the courts, should be further improved if badminton seeks to reach the high standard set by another racquet sport – tennis.
As Chong Wei puts it, it would have been better to have the instant review on the big screen.
“I like the instant review system … it’s better and fairer. BWF did well to bring about the changes,” said Chong Wei after beating Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the final.
“But I think it would be better to put it up on the big screen, so that everyone, including the supporters, can take a look at it … and there will be no dispute.”
The two-time Olympic silver medallist’s words were echoed by several top stars – like China’s Li Xuerui, Indonesia’s Mohd Ahsan and Denmark’s Mathias Boe.
BWF events chairman Peter Tarcala said that the federation would look at implementing the instant review system in the Super Series and two major events – Thomas Cup and World Championships – next year.
“Testing this system at the Super Series Finals was just the first step in improving the game as there are still a few technical aspects that we need to finalise,” said Tarcala.
“We’ve had positive feedback regarding the instant review system and we’ll definitely use it in the Super Series events and the majors next year.
“But what we face now is financial constraint. This means that when we implement it in the regular Super Series events, it will be limited to the TV court … and only the day’s interesting matches will be selected for that court.”