Dongguan: World badminton chief said on Thursday that he would try to promote the sport to the world’s top 10 and help more players become millionaires.
“My goal is to make badminton to top 10 sport in Olympic Games,” Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen, President of the Badminton World Federation (BWF), told Xinhua before the Sudirman Cup quarter-finals.
“Sometimes, you have to raise the barrier. So top-10 sport, being more global, and has more people to pick up rackets. The more people, the more potential we have, go for it and try,” added Larsen.
Unlike tennis, badminton, though it has been played for hundreds of years, it is still a less popular sport in the world.
Take example of the ongoing Sudirman Cup, held in Dongguan, Guangdong province of China, it has been only hosted by Europe or Asia since it was founded in 1989. Only in next edition in 2017, will it be first-ever held in Australia.
Less popular means less income for the professional players. But BWF President is ready to change it, aiming to attract more young people to know and choose the sport.
“If you want parents to say ‘yes’, go ahead to play badminton, be a winner and play professionally, there is something to play for,” he said.
“If we don’t give the players a chance being a millionaire, I think a lot of parents would say ‘no’ — concentrate and focus on your study and that is better future.
“I want to see the development of the sport. We can do better to get more money to the game and give the players very good idea to play badminton on the highest level and I want to see more players try to achieve the ultimate goal to achieve the championships.”
SCORING SYSTEM DEBATE
Scoring system has been a hot topic since some people believe the current best of three, 21-point format makes the match always too long.
“Definitely, the scoring system has been debated, and the whole philosophy is to have more peaks and more intensity of the game, and to reach the end point faster, that is the whole philosophy,” said Larsen.
“How long the game should be? That is still to be discussed. The whole idea is to show intact with our audience and to capture them and get faster to the end point. Create the the intensity and extent, that is it.”
However, the president said personally he favoured the new system.
“I personally favour shorter or more peaks to the game and faster to the end. I would prefer five sets to 11 or in that range, it could be settings as 15 as you say,” said Larsen.
He also suggested that some rules from tennis could be learned to add interest into the game.
“If there could be other idea like a tie-break like tennis, so that is what we still need to discuss and debate before we put anything forward that we need to investigate.”
NO BIG CHANGE IN RIO
This May saw the start of Rio Olympic qualification period. According to Larsen, BWF will not risk changing the rules in 2016 Games. To have a full house in Rio is a goal.
However, in the long run, BWF could seek to reduce the games shorter but more attractive.
Larsen also hailed the longer careers of badminton players than in some other sports.
“It is a game quite physically, quite demanding. You need to train a lot to be on that level as Lin Dan, you also need skill, it is the whole DNA of the sport,” he said.
“For senior players, such as the 60s can also play very well, so I will not change that. I would keep that, physical endurance of the sport and also the technical element. “
Editor: Song Miou, Xinhua