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DTH News : BWF's skirt rule implementation postponed till June 1
NEW DELHI: Facing intense resistance from players in India, the Badminton World Federation on Thursday postponed the implementation of its controversial new rule, which makes wearing skirts mandatory for female shuttlers, by a month to June 1.

"Badminton's new clothing regulations, part of an overall campaign to raise the profile of women in badminton and profile of the sport, will be implemented on June 1, granting member associations and players another month to adapt to the new ruling," the BWF said in a statement.

The new rule was set to come into practice after next week's Indian Open Super Series in New Delhi and female players in India were uncomfortable with the dress code.

Top shuttler Saina Nehwal had stated that though she herself was not against wearing skirts, but the choice of attire should be left to players.

The BWF said it has received varied feedback on the new regulation and would talk to the players.

"Sometimes it is necessary to make rules to get a consistent implementation. BWF have for many years encouraged both badminton clothing manufacturers and players to produce and wear clothing that would enhance the presentation of the game in general," said BWF deputy president Paisan Rangsikitpho.

"We are, however, always willing to listen to the players, which is why we have decided to delay the implementation date slightly to June 1 to be able to advice and have a dialogue with the players on the guidelines," he added.

The BWF official said the extension will give all member nations the time to understand the logic behind the new rules ahead of the BWF's Annual General Meeting in China on May 28.

With this extension, the rule will now come into implementation in Singapore Open Super Series.
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Saina unhappy with 'mandatory skirts' rule

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal during a practice session in Chennai. (BCCL Photo)
HYDERABAD: Ever since Badminton World Federation decided to make skirts compulsory for female players, World No. 3 Saina Nehwal, has been looking up her cupboard for old skirts. She spent most of the day trying them on.

Saina in conversation with Hyderabad Times on the issue:

Indian Open, starting April 26, is the last tournament that will see you playing in shorts.

"Yes, I am not happy about it. But if it's a rule, I will have to follow it."

Have you tried wearing a skirt ever since the rule?

"Yes, I wore one today."

Why don't you voice your disappointment?

"If others have accepted the decision, I can't be the only person fighting with the federation, can I? I will take time to adjust to this, but I will have to do it."

Is this the right way to promote the sport?

"I feel they should have just left the choice to the players."

Your comment on this sexist notion attached to the rule...

"They are only trying to implement this idea to make the sport popular, but there are so many other ways, right? They claim more people will come to watch my game if I wear a skirt instead of shorts. The stadium is always packed whenever I play, even if I'm in shorts. Let's see how well they can promote the sport through this rule. I am sure it will be made optional after two months."

What makes you say that?

"Badminton is a lot about jumping and running across the court. Once the players start getting uncomfortable doing this while wearing skirts, I am sure they will fight against the rule together."

Till then are you okay with pictures of you and other players in flying skirts making headlines, like it happens with tennis players?

"My job is to play and I don't care about who clicks me. When pictures of me and other players in flying skirts come out in the papers, I am sure there will be opposition and then, maybe, the federation will change the rule."
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New skirt rule irks Chinese shuttlers

BEIJING: Badminton's new dress code has irked some of the Chinese female shuttlers, who insist wearing a skirt hampers their on-court movement.

The new Badminton World Federation (BWF) code, which comes into effect from May 1, requires all female players to wear skirts in Grand Prix tournaments and above "to ensure attractive presentation of badminton".

Last year's Asian Championship winner Li Xuerui, is among those who has problems with the new code.

"I did wear a skirt in the All-England tournament last month but it was so big that even affected my performance," she was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Thursday.

Some of the Indian and Indonesian shuttlers are also unhappy with the rule, as is Beijing Olympics doubles winner Yu Yang.

"I don't like wearing skirts. I am not used to them. When I wear a skirt, I don't know how to play," she said.

Compatriot and world number one Wang Shixian, however, is not making a fuss and appeared in a black skirt in her first round victory at the Asian Championship in Chengdu on Wednesday.

"The new rule is effective on May 1 so I am adapting myself to it now," she said.
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Wearing skirts mandatory on badminton court 'wrong': NCW

NEW DELHI: A new rule that makes wearing of skirts on court mandatory for female badminton players has not gone down well with the National Commission for Women (NCW) and other women groups which termed it as "wrong" and "reflective of reactionary and patriarchal mindset".

Opposing the new rule, which BWF said was to boost the sport's profile among viewers and will come into effect from next month, NCW's acting-chairperson Yasmin Abrar told PTI that "forcing a dress code for making the game attractive is wrong. Sports should be treated as sports and viewed as sports...If need be, we will write to the BWF."

"What is important is your performance and how you play...not what you wear," she said.

The BWF had in 2009 introduced a new dress code which requires all female players to wear skirts "to ensure attractive presentation of badminton".

AIDWA General Secretary Sudha Sundaraman was more strident in her criticism.

"We will certainly dispatch a letter to BWF against the rule which is a reflective of reactionary and patriarchal mindset. The performance of the players should be important and not what they wear. Players should be given the right to choose what they wear," she said.

BWF's new rule is a step to glamourise badminton like tennis but has created a furore in India with some former and current players saying such an "unfair" move could discourage girls from taking up the sport.
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