KUALA LUMPUR: National singles coach Tey Seu Bock lauds a move by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to limit the number of singles players from each country at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio to only two.
At the last Olympic Games in London in 2012, BWF allowed each country to have a maximum of three singles players if all of them were ranked in the top eight in the world.
That rule benefited China which saw them parading Lin Dan, Chen Long and Chen Jin in the men’s singles and Li Xuerui, Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan in the women’s singles.
China were the only country to have a maximum of three players at the last edition, which gave them a slight advantage.
Under the new qualifications ruling for the Rio Olympic Games, a country can have a maximum of two players if both of them are ranked in the top 16 after a one-year qualifying period (up till May 1, 2016).
The new qualifications ruling was announced on Wednesday.
Seu Bock said that by limiting it to two, the world body had acted fairly.
“More countries can participate in the Olympic Games, which is good for the sport,” said Seu Bock.
“There is also no room for any manipulation anymore.
“At the last qualification, we saw how some players would throw matches so that their compatriot could make the cut. With this ruling, it will be a straightforward fight with the best earning their right to participate.”
Seu Bock said that as a result, the draw would also be fair.
“If a country has two representatives, one will be drawn in the top half and the other in the bottom half. In the past, we used to have two Chinese players in one half and the third in the other half. Now, it is equal.
“I am sure China will not be happy with this ruling but it will be warmly welcomed by others. Finally, we will get to see fairness in the distribution of players for the Games.”
With the change, Seu Bock hopes that Malaysia’s singles players will grab the opportunity and do well to improve their world ranking.
Currently, Lee Chong Wei is ranked first in the world, followed by Chong Wei Feng at 16th, Liew Daren (36), Misbun Ramdan Misbun (46), Tan Chun Seang (47), Zulfadli Zulkiffli (56) and Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (59).
“At the last Olympic Games, we only had Chong Wei (he lost to Lin Dan in the final). Of course, it is my wish to see Chong Wei play until 2016 but it is up to him to make that decision. If he is not around, Wei Feng and Daren should take it as a challenge to make the qualification,” he said.
If Chong Wei and Daren do not lift their game and break into the top 10 by then, the hope will then rest on the second stringers to fight for places.
Based on a lack of depth in the women’s singles, Malaysia can only hope for one representative.
Meanwhile, in the doubles events, a country can have a maximum of two pairs if the players are ranked within the top eight. If they are not in the top eight, a country can have only one pair in the Games.
A total of 172 places for badminton players have been confirmed for the Rio Games (86 men and 86 women) for all the five events.