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Most Indian shuttlers happy BWF didn’t approve new points system

Malvika Bansod
Malvika Bansod
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Suhas Nayse

Most Indian shuttlers heaved a huge sigh of relief on Saturday when they came to know that the proposed new points system in badminton didn't go through. An attempt to replace the existing three-game format of 21 points with a best-of-five of 11 points failed to get the required two-thirds majority during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Badminton World Federation (BWF).

The member nations of the sport’s global governing body voted on a proposal to amend the laws of the sport regarding the scoring system during the BWF’s 82nd AGM that was held virtually last weekend.

The proposal was put forward by the Indonesian Badminton Association and the Badminton Association of Maldives and seconded by Badminton Asia, Badminton Korea Association and Chinese Taipei Badminton Association. It received 66.31% votes in favour, falling just short of the two-thirds majority required to go through.

A total of 282 votes were cast. The BWF, under president Paul-Erik Hoyer, floated the idea in 2014 for the first time, but it didn’t receive any support that time. The 11x5 new points system, which was criticised by many players and coaches, couldn’t get enough votes in the 2020 AGM as well.

Many Indian players are elated that the new proposal got rejected. Had it gone through, they would have had to change their playing strategies. Incidentally, most of the shuttlers are out of action due to lockdown in most parts of the country. On that note, let's have a look at the reactions from a few Indian shuttlers.

I support the present points system and not the new one - Malvika Bansod

Teenage sensation Malvika Bansod, India's No. 2 women's shuttler, doesn't favour the new points system, as she is more suited to the old one.

“If the new points system would have gotten approved, then we as players would have been required to adapt to playing with power, speed and accuracy right from the start. We would have to take the lead and win the opening game,” said Malvika Bansod, winner of three international badminton titles.

The 19-year-old said the proposed new points system would have required a completely different mindset, elaborating in this regard:

“The same error-free tempo would have been needed for the rest of the match too. I am currently adapted to the old system like most other players. It would have required a specific mindset to adapt to it and change the way we approach the game."

Reigning national junior doubles champion Ritika Thaker, who won the national Under-19 girls' doubles title with Simran Singhi, said she is open to changes but is happy that the old points system has been continued.

“I am personally happy that the same scoring system will continue. I am open to changes, but the proposed changes would not have given you a chance to fight back once you trail by a couple of points in a game of 11. However, in a game of 21, we can change our plan. We get a chance to talk to our coaches at the interval, where they can help us since there would be 10 more points to close the game. I am therefore happy that the scoring system has not changed."

Meanwhile, 20-year-old Ritika Thaker, who has played in the World Junior Badminton Championships, is also in favour of the existing points system, saying:

“I have myself come from behind to win a match. If it had been the new format, I would have lost. The old format also gives us more time to adjust to various factors like light, drift and plan game strategy."

Vaishnavi Bhale, who played with Saina Nehwal in the Uber Cup, echoed Ritika Thaker’s views on the proposed new points system, saying:

“I think the old points system of 21x3 is good. The proposed 11x5 is too short to adjust. Normally in a 21-point game, we need at least 5-7 points to adjust to the situation. If there was a 11-point game, the margin of error would be small. We need some time to set up the court properly. In the current format, we don’t have that much pressure. Even after the break of 11 points, we can come back in the match."

Former Sub-Junior National singles champion Rohan Gurbani is also not in favour of the new proposed new points system. He said in this regard:

“The new points system, which had been proposed earlier, I feel the game would have suffered the loss of its authentic culture, which is the 21x3 system. The core badminton fans would have taken time to really enjoy and adjust to this. On the other hand, a lot of new fans could have also joined the community as watching big matches in a short time requires a comparatively smaller attention span. For me personally, I think 21x3 is the one I would prefer, as throughout my entire career, I have played matches in the same set-up."

One of the fastest rising women’s singles players in the country, Mugdha Agrey, also echoed similar sentiments. She said that the new points system would require players to change their styles, something she was not in favour of.

“According to me, the existing points system is much better than the new proposed system, as it keeps the old essence of the game as well as the excitement. It gives everyone a fair chance. The 11x5 new points system is unpredictable, and also it doesn’t help the slow starters. Adjustment issues would have arisen for anyone seeded or unseeded. Chances of recovery and coming back into the game would have been less in the new proposed system,” said Mugdha Agrey, world No. 82.

Another international shuttler, Rashi Lambe, who played in the Under-19 World Badminton Championship in Canada a few years ago, was pleased the new points system was scrapped. She said the new format would not have given players enough time to study their opponents.

“For many of the badminton players, 5 games of 11 might be a better choice, but being a rally player, it takes time for me to adjust to the pace of my opponents and understand their game. Normally in a 21-point game, with tougher opponents, it takes me one whole game to understand how exactly am I supposed to play, so I would definitely prefer that."

Rashi Lambe continued in this regard:

“On the other hand, the 11-point game can be a tough task to play in, as the set might get over by the time you come to grips. At times, the type of shuttle also matters, as the shuttles we use during practice sessions and those which are provided during the tournaments differ. It does change your approach towards the game. So to conclude the statement above, it is better if we get 21 points in a 3-set match, so that it is easy to gauge the situatiom."

Edited by Bhargav
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