Yip unable to skirt new dress code
The last time Yip Pui-yin wore a skirt for competition was five years ago, but the Hong Kong number one will have to abandon her shorts from June 1 to conform with a controversial new clothing rule.
'I won't say I hate wearing a skirt, but I am not used to it,' Yip, ranked 16th in the world and Hong Kong's brightest hope for next year's London Olympics, said.
'I run and jump a lot on the court, and it's fine when wearing shorts. There will definitely be some psychological effects if I wear a skirt when doing the same actions. I just hope my performance will not be affected, as the London Olympics qualifiers have just begun,' said Yip, who won the 2009 East Asian Games singles title. 'Over the years, I have received more than 20 skirts from my sponsors, but I gave them all to my friends.'
The new dress code, which requires all female players to wear skirts or dresses in major tournaments 'to ensure attractive presentation of badminton', has been deferred to June 1 after an outcry from players and officials.
The World Badminton Federation responded to criticism, saying it had 'never been the intention to portray women as sexual objects' and the 'stylish presentation' was important to raise the sport's popularity.
China and Indonesia, as well as Scandinavian countries, have objected, with players saying skirts hamper their movement on court and are uncomfortable.
China's Li Xuerui, last year's Asian Championship winner, wore a skirt during the All-England tournament last month and said 'it affected my performance'.
A Malaysian official said last week the rules might be scrapped because of the objections. The issue will be the hot topic when the world body meets for its annual general meeting in Qingdao during the Sudirman Cup World Mixed Team Championships next week.
Hong Kong doubles specialist Chau Hoi-wah is also against the new rules. 'I don't mind wearing a skirt during leisure, but I don't like being forced to do so for competition,' she said. 'In sports, the priority should be given to performance rather than your apparel.'
The Hong Kong team have started using skirts during practice sessions and will wear them at the Sudirman Cup. 'We have to follow the new clothing rules, although it may cause problems for some players,' team coach Tim He Yiming said. 'I hope we overcome the psychological effects as soon as possible so it won't affect our preparations for the London Olympics.'
He was disappointed to find out Hong Kong had been relegated to group two at the Qingdao event.
Hong Kong were in group one at the last world team event, when they finished last of eight teams. The new group one has expanded to 12 teams, but Hong Kong are in group two with a ranking of 13 after the world body calculated the position of Hong Kong's players in individual events.