BADMINTON

Badminton body says game will stay in Olympics

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 3:43am

A senior Badminton World Federation official said reports that the sport would be kicked out of the Olympic Games were "mischievous speculation" that had no basis in fact.

"We have regular contact with the International Olympic Committee and they have said nothing about this to us," Paisan Rangsikitpho, the federation's deputy president, said yesterday at the World Super Series finals. "In fact, everything we've heard has been positive. We had a very successful London Games, selling more than 111,000 tickets for the week-long tournament and that is a record.

"Billions more watched on television and when those figures are made official, we believe it will also be a record.

"This [reports that badminton would be ousted from the Games] is mischievous speculation. I don't know where the reports come from."

The IOC's Olympic Programme Commission will review all 26 sports at the London Games next week, with reports saying that one sport would not be included in the 2020 Olympics.

Badminton and table tennis - two sports dominated by China - as well as modern pentathlon and taekwondo are reportedly on the list of sports that could face the axe.

China won all five badminton titles in London as well as all four table tennis gold medals. "We can't regulate how many medals one country is allowed to win. That would be like match-fixing," Rangsikitpho said. "The best players should win gold, whichever country they come from."

Hong Kong sports supremo Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, an IOC member, added: "The IOC is reviewing the Olympic programme which means one or more sports may lose their Olympic status, but badminton should not be one of them."

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hu Yun was beaten 21-10, 21-18 by favourite Chen Long in the semi-finals of the men's singles at the Super Series finals yesterday at Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.

But Hu, 31, was delighted to have got that far. "It has been a very successful year in my career," he said. "I will still work hard to improve and hold on to my No1 ranking in Hong Kong."

Ranked 14th in the world, Hu reached one Super Series final and two semi-finals this year to qualify for the Shenzhen event.

In the women' singles, Olympic champ Li Xuerui of China beat Saina Nehwal of India 22-20, 7-21, 21-13. She will meet compatriot Wang Shixian in today's final.