Wednesday January 16, 2013
Badminton may lose its place in Olympics, says Taufik
MALAYSIAN OPEN BADMINTON CHAMPIONSHIPS
PUTRA STADIUM, BUKIT JALIL (Jan 15-20)
INDONESIAN Taufik Hidayat’s new training centre in Jakarta got off the ground on Jan 1. But he fears that none of his budding charges may get a chance to compete in the Olympics.
The 32-year-old Taufik believes badminton is losing its appeal and it may lose its place in the Olympics.
Taufik said the slew of retirements and withdrawals at last week’s US$1mil Korean Open, the richest badminton tournament in the world, further damaged the sport’s image.
“The situation has worsened since I started playing badminton at the age of 15. The constant retirements of players do not augur well for the game. There is talk that badminton may not make it as a sport in the 2020 Olympics. We must bear in mind that other sports are strongly lobbying to be included.
“I have just started my own centre. It caters for eight or nine-year-olds. Now, I am not sure whether they will get a chance to play in the Olympics,” added Taufik.
What irked Taufik most was that the withdrawals and retirements still occurred despite the Badminton World Federation (BWF) taking a strong stance, especially during last year’s London Olympic Games. Four women’s doubles pairs were banned for “not using one’s best efforts to win a match”. The BWF also warned their affiliates over the constant walkovers on the tour.
Taufik felt that not many are taking the world body seriously.
“I hope to see BWF amend or strengthen their rules and regulations on players and the tournaments. And the BWF must also make a greater effort to make the sport big in America and Africa,” said Taufik.
On his playing career, Taufik said he would call it quits soon.
“I will be retiring for good after my home tournament – the Indonesia Open (June 11-16). My form has suffered a sharp dip. It is not because of the lack of trying or my fitness level. It is all in my head. I have not been completely focused on badminton as I was quite occupied with setting up my training centre,” he said.
“I have six months before I bid goodbye but I hope to accomplish two things – win my first All-England title (in March) and complete my career with an Indonesian Open title in June,” added Taufik, a winner of all the other major titles, including the Olympics, World Championships and Asian Games.
On his chances in the Maybank Malaysian Open, world No. 17 Taufik, who will take on third seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam in the first round at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil today, said: “I am not sure about my chances but my friend Lee Chong Wei will surely win it. He has been dominating the Super Series circuit, but I hope to see him finally win the World Championships to prove that he can also win major titles.”