International Olympic Committee

Olympic axing rumours leave shuttlers unruffled

Ace shuttlers dismiss speculation the sport is to be dropped from 2020 Games programme

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 2:59am

Players in the World Super Series finals in Shenzhen appeared unfazed by speculation badminton is facing the axe from the 2020 Olympic Games programme.

London Olympic women's singles champion Li Xuerui said the speculation had not worried her.

"There is nothing concrete about which sport will go," said the 21-year-old mainlander, who kept a perfect record in her three group matches to reach today's semi-finals at Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre, including an overwhelming 2-0 (21-9, 21-12) victory over Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea yesterday.

"As a player, my role is to perform my best on the court so the fans can enjoy watching the best badminton. Whether the sport can stay in the Olympic Games is a matter for the sport's world governing body to deal with."

It was reported the IOC's Olympic programme commission would consider later this month whether or not to drop one of the 26 London Games programmes out of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Either badminton or table tennis - the two sports dominated by Chinese athletes - is rumoured to be facing the axe, while boxing and modern pentathlon are also said to have questionable futures.

The decision would still need to be ratified by the IOC executive board next year and the rejected sport could subsequently compete with other eight sports, such as squash, roller skating, karate and wushu at September's IOC congress in Buenos Aires for readmission to the 2020 Games.

Olympic bronze medallist Chen Long of China, who will meet Hong Kong's Hu Yun in today's men's singles semi-finals, was also unruffled by the speculation.

"A decision has not yet made, right?" he said after struggling to beat Kenichi Tago in three games yesterday. "Even if it has been made, I still have to train."

Hong Kong coach Liu Zhiheng said there were a lot of rumours about the 2020 Games programme but nothing was official.

"We have to keep our focus on the court and the world governing body has the responsibility to take care of the Olympic programme issue," he said.