Something seems to be terribly wrong with the wise men governing world badminton. If anything, they are likely to destroy the charm of the sport in their new fad for ringing in ‘innovations’ ostensibly aimed at ‘propelling’ its popularity across the firmament.

In the supposedly well-intended decision, which is certain to draw flak from the players and coaches, the over-enthusiastic Badminton World Federation (BWF) has sounded the death-knell of many a blossoming career. It is ironical that at a time when players cutting across several disciplines, including Virat Kohli, are crying foul of cramped schedules, the Federation is set to over-kill the players holding a gun on their shoulders. To make matters worse, the revised ‘itinerary’ comes with a stringent warning.

There is no doubt that it is taking cue from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) while contemplating some radical changes. Brazenly bizarre is its resolve to mandate the top 15 singles players and top ten doubles combinations to participate in at least 12 tournaments in a calendar year or face the BWF wrath, implying hefty penalties.  
It augurs well if changes are brought in to make the sport (any sport for that matter) more exciting for the players and the fans but if the same are thrust upon in such a blatantly grotesque manner that they will destroy the dreams and aspirations of the new generation of shuttlers, then such changes are meaningless and serve no purpose, whatsoever. Of course, it makes sense to classify Olympics, Thomas and Uber Cup, Sudirman Cup, Asian Games, CWG and World Juniors in the Grade One category. But the other restructuring proposals are condemnable.

The administrators should understand that badminton is the career option for millions of men and women and the players are just that-thoroughbred professionals, who live on the sport. It is rather audacious to goad them into participating in 12 tournaments. The bigger tragedy is that the ruling comes with an unfathomable rider ‘either toe the line or lose out on several fronts’. One fails to understand how the officials can impose such atrocious diktat on players who give their very best day in and day out.

It is understandable if a nation asks its players to turn up at national championships (something that the BAI is contemplating) because their presence would be a test of calibre for those knocking on the doors of the big league. That will also bring in an element of quality into each domestic tournament. But the Federation cannot dare take such extreme steps when the fact of the matter is that such shoddy compulsions are beyond its jurisdiction.

Moreover, why should they bring such a ceiling on the top 15 in the circuit and not the entire lot? Does it mean that SuperSeries is losing its sheen and is failing to attract crowds? The dream of every player is to rise in the rankings. If one goes by the latest dictatorial decision, it seems like there is more sense if a player does not break into the Top 15 rankings.  A retrograde lob it certainly is!