The Badminton World Federation has proposed a series of changes to the existing rules that has left coaches like Pullela Gopichand and Kenneth Jonassen questioning the very logic of such a move. For starters, 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.
It has also called for a best-of-five format instead of the current three-game structure and has recommended that the games be of 11 points each instead of the current 21-point format.
To be enforced in international badminton, these rules will need endorsement at the BWF Annual General Meeting in Bangkok to be held on May 19 and the formal proposals from the BWF Council will be circulated on March 30.
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 told PTI.
Denmark’s chief coach Kenneth Jonassen, who guided Viktor Axelsen to world championship gold and the world no 1 ranking said, “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.
Former India coaches Vimal Kumar and Syed Mohammed Arif, however, favoured the proposed rule, saying it would make the players stronger.
Another proposal is to regularise a new scoring system of five games of 11 points each instead of the current 21-point system.
Gopichand said: “It would benefit a few players initially while some will find it difficult. See I am not convinced about the reason for which these rule changes are being proposed. The 21-point system has been successful, it has grown well, it has become popular in many countries.”
Jonassen also claimed to be “unsure” about the new scoring system.
BWF has already made it mandatory to keep the shuttle height constant at 1.15m from the surface of the court during service on which Jonassen added, “…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.”