Kuala Lumpur: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) is ready to help World No. 2 Lee Chong Wei to ask for exemption from participating in the 12 Grade 2 tournaments in 2018.
BAM’s secretary-general Ng Chin Chai said he would submit a letter of appeal to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) within a week.
According to the newly revised schedule, BWF has replaced the Superseries and Superseries Premier with the so-called “World Tour”. The world’s top 15 players in the singles events and top 10 pairs in the doubles disciplines must play in a minimum of 12 Open tournaments to avoid being penalized.
“We are going to ask them to reduce the tournaments Chong Wei has to participate in,” said Ng.
“This is because Chong Wei will have to play in 5 extra tournaments including the Asian Team Championships, the Thomas Cup, the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Championships on top of the 12 World Tours,” added Ng.
“If he qualifies for the Super Series Finals, he would have to play one more tournament at the end of 2018. This is going to be too much, not only for Lee, but for all players 30 years old and above.”
“At the age of 35, Chong Wei faces the risk of injury if he plays in too many tournaments in a single year.”
“We don’t have to bring this to the Coaching & Training Committee (C&T) meeting this Thursday. I’ve talked to Chong Wei, he told me he had informed BWF about this when he was in Dubai last month.”
In addition to criticism from India’s chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand and Indian women’s singles ace Saina Nehwal as reported by BadmintonPlanet.com yesterday, Rio Olympic women’s singles champion Carolina Marin, and World No. 1 men’s singles player Viktor Axelsen also slammed the BWF for a “cramped” 2018 international calendar, which hardly leaves any time for players to recover from injuries or be at their best at important tournaments.
“BWF should rather focus on increasing the quality of the tournament instead of just putting more tournament in a calendar year. We need time to rest and take care of our body so that we could have a longer career,” said Axelsen who is now playing for Bengaluru Blasters in India’s Premier Badminton League.