Race to Olympic points is on

This is it. The Olympic qualification period kicks off in Singapore with the 5th leg of the Super Series. That means that players, coaches, officials, will be looking at the world […]

ImageThis is it. The Olympic qualification period kicks off in Singapore with the 5th leg of the Super Series. That means that players, coaches, officials, will be looking at the world rankings on a daily basis – especially on Thursdays, when the new world rankings come out. And with the new Super Series events topping the bill, it will be an even tougher fight all through out the year because of the vicious – or virtuous circle – of being in the eight seeding spots or not. This clearly makes a difference when top players are involved in a draw.

By Raphael Sachetat, Chief Editor.

For one whole year, players will have to make sure that they travel to strategic places, thinking of what the best way is to get some points they couldn’t possibly get otherwise. That means travelling to places they would have never expected to, simply because they think the very best will travel elsewhere. In 2003, some of the top shuttlers enjoyed trips to the most unexpected places in order to get those few extra points to make it past the final cut.

Rules have changed since the last . In order to involve more countries, entries have been differently dispatched. More singles, less doubles, and more obstacles to having the maximum of three pairs involved.  If China – or another country – wishes to bank on three entries per event, they’ll have to have their three shuttlers in the top 4 of the world when the qualifying period ends on May 1st, 2008. By then, a first list of potential qualifiers will be sent out to national bodies. Some, of course, will send all shuttlers that have qualified according to the BWF standard. Others will have to make the drastic choice of leaving athletes at home even when they could have gone, simply because their internal qualification rule is more restrictive than the one given by BWF – leading to a lot of frustration sometimes.

During this one year, friends will suddenly become competitors because if any shuttler moves ahead of you in the world ranking, it could make a difference. Some will be left home because they are one spot too far from the final cut, while their best friends could be just a few spots ahead of them and get to go to Beijing. The Olympic warfare is about to begin.

Needless to say, the Chinese will be ready.  They are expected to provide a bright performance at home, and at the moment, they could qualify 3 shuttlers in some categories already.

The quest for Olympics has already seen its unlucky players, with Roslin Hashim, who, due to a mistake by his national body, was left out out of 2 crucial tournaments: the Singapore and Indonesia Opens.  The BA shuttler has decided to move ahead with legal proceedings against BAM. Joachim Persson, injured during a last match in his Interclubs back in Denmark, missed out qualification to the World Championships by only 1 spot because he couldn’t compete in a smaller tournament the same week. Not qualifying for the Worlds will make it harder for him to qualify as the Kuala Lumpur meet will give a lot of points towards the qualification for Beijing games. Zhou Mi, for her part, is starting her quest under the Hong Kong banner now, with her first major tournament this week in Singapore,  even if she has to play in the qualification rounds…

Exciting exciting. The coming year will be full of excitement for the badminton world before 5 players or teams are crowned in China next year.

Image: Beijing National Stadium

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.