Despite protests from nations as China, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, the skirt wearing rule approved by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) will be enforced on June 1 and the Li Ning Singapore Open becomes the debut event to go for it.
Female participants to the tournament, to run from June 14-19, are required to wear skirts as their tennis colleagues have done long ago.
“We don’t intend to make the sports sexy, but we mean to create a better presentation and more distinct profile of the women’s game,” said BWF Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho.
“Sometimes it is necessary to make rules to get a consistent implementation [as] BWF have for many years encouraged both badminton clothing manufacturers and players to produce and wear clothing that would enhance the presentation of the game in general,” he added.
For religious or other beliefs and respects women, players will continue to wear shorts if they wish but simply wear a skirt over the top of the shorts, as is often practiced already by some players, he noticed.
BWF had initiated some of the steps to raise the profile of women in badminton, as offering equal prize money for men and women disciplines, standardized 21-point rally system for men and women disciplines and equal male and female participation across the events offered.
However, Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) general secretary Kenny Goh said Muslim missions in the nation have made strong protests against the new clothing rule, arguing that it may hinder their women from competition.
They even call on BAM to boycott BWF.
The new rule was supposed to be enforced on May 1 this year but delayed for a month to provide an opportunity for members to fully understand the reasons behind the new rule.
It has the genesis in the extensive review into the marketing and events structure of the BWF to raise the profile of women in badminton and profile of the sport.