BADMINTON-PRESIDENCY:China head coach backs Malaysian for BWF top post
(Reuters) - Malaysian Nadzmi Mohd Salleh has been encouraged to run for the presidency of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) by the head coach of China.
Current BWF president Kang Young-joong of South Korea said last month he would step down from the role in May after eight years at the helm and Indonesian Justian Suhandinata has already made clear his intentions to run for the post.
China head coach Li Yongbo feels that Nadzmi, the head of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, has what it takes to popularise and spread the sport beyond its main Asian base and pockets of Europe.
"Nadzmi is a good choice. He has the clout and credentials to increase the popularity of the sport to a wider base," Li was quoted as saying by the Malaysian Star newspaper on Tuesday.
"He has been in the badminton circle for many years and is supportive of the game."
Badminton came under fire during the London Olympics last July when four women's doubles pairs from South Korea, China and Indonesia deliberately played to lose their matches in order to get a more favourable draw.
All four pairings were disqualified and banned after the farcical scenes putting in doubt the sports inclusion in future editions of the Games.
Despite the problems, London saw a record 51 countries participating in the sport with the BWF saying all sessions were sold out.
"Our sport has the potential to be popular beyond the Asian and European region and we need to aggressively promote it," Li said.
It is compulsory for players ranked in the top 10 of the BWF rankings to compete in Super Series Premier events but Chinese players have become infamous for retiring midway through matches or pulling out from tournaments due to injuries.
According to Li, the newly elected BWF president will have to take a serious look and prune down the hectic badminton calendar to solve the problem.
"There are just too many tournaments. We need to cut it down. I would suggest that we limit the number of competitions and increase the prize money," he added.
"Better income will surely widen the participation of the players and motivate them even more." (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Patrick Johnston)