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Gopichand against change in format

Gopichand said from both players as well as coaches' point of view, tinkering with the points system was not advisable.

Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei returns a shot to South Korea's Son Wan-ho during their men's singles match in the Thomas Cupin New Delhi.  ( Source: Reuters ) Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei returns a shot to South Korea’s Son Wan-ho during their men’s singles match in the Thomas Cupin New Delhi. ( Source: Reuters )

After veteran Chinese shuttler Lin Dan opposed the BWF’s plans to consider a new scoring system in badminton, India coach Pullella Gopichand said that tinkering with the current points format was not going to help the sport.

“I don’t see there is a requirement to tinker with the current format because the sport has become popular as it is. Nobody complains about the format. Neither the players nor spectators are complaining about it, then why is it being talked about?” Gopichand asked.

“If the sport has got stuck somewhere then there is a reason but otherwise what’s the need,” he said at the sidelines of the ongoing Thomas and Uber Cup Finals at the Siri Fort Sports Complex. The Badminton World Federation is all set to discuss whether a new scoring system is needed to benefit television coverage and make contests more attractive for viewers in a meeting on Friday.

Gopichand said from both players as well as coaches’ point of view, tinkering with the points system was not advisable. “I think the sport has grown popular with this point format. So I won’t really want it to be tinkered with too much. From the coach’s perspective also, it is not something that I really want. Then, there is lot of changes that we need to do.

“As a player, I was not very happy when the points format was changed. It was bad for me, so from a player’s perspective also, tinkering too much with the format is not advisable. Unless there are drastic requirements or very important reasons, they (Badminton World Federation) should not do it,” insisted Gopichand.

One suggestion is to have two games of 21 each with the decider, if needed, played for 11 points. Another format is 15 points for each game, while a third suggestion is to play five games of nine points each. A difference of two points would still be needed to win.

Meanwhile, talking about Thursday’s Uber Cup quarterfinals, Gopichand said Indian women have a good chance of making it to the semifinals. “Before the start of the tournament, I was aiming for quarterfinals berth as it was the first step. Second step is the semis. Realistically if you look at it, in a team championship lot of things are possible. We have two strong singles (Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu), then there is doubles (pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa) also. Three is good enough to win a tie in a team championship, so we have our chances,” Gopichand said.

“I don’t know where we will finish, but definitely we have a strong team and all of them are playing well,” he added. Asked about Saina’s victory against a quality player in world number 4 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand yesterday after a long time, Gopichand said, “Saina is somebody who with good fitness can always come back.

“There are not many backlogs in her mind. Yesterday, she did not play her best but she was definitely there. And if she continues the same way, we can expect even better from her. People who think her performance is going down or whether she will come back, I think those questions are immaterial,” he pointed out.

Gopichand said that while the standard of competition in women’s singles badminton has been improving, Saina have it in her to fight it out. “She is 24 and has 4-5 years at least in her. She has a lot of fire. She is a top player and she will continue to. All the girls in the world are playing very good badminton. There are a bunch of them. Ratchanok is one of them. We will see more competition coming up, and tough matches being played. She is in that league and she will have to fight it out. She is definitely there,” Gopichand said.

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