SKIRT RULE – India, China frown; BWF gives more time

Indian and Chinese shuttlers – amongst which Saina Nehwal and Yu Yang have raised concerns about the new policy to be implemented by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) regarding the […]

saina-nehwal-05-ind-yn-worldchampionships2010Indian and Chinese shuttlers – amongst which Saina Nehwal and Yu Yang have raised concerns about the new policy to be implemented by the Badminton World Federation () regarding the dress code for women in upcoming badminton tournaments. The has just published a news release stating that the implementation of the new rule would be postponed from May 1st to June 1st, which is after the body’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Raphael Sachetat. Photo: Badmintonphoto

The Indian media have covered the issue – complete with its inevitable comparisons to women’s tennis, which does not have a mandatory rule – raising concerns from local players that the skirts should not be made mandatory and the two biggest local stars, Commonwealth Games gold medallists Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta, have been heard on the subject.

The stadium is always packed whenever I play, even if I’m in shorts. Let’s see how well they can promote the sport through this rule. I am sure it will be made optional after two months,” said Saina Nehwal to the India Times.


Tennis star Ana Ivanovic © Yves Lacroix

Badminton is a lot about jumping and running across the court. Once the players start getting uncomfortable doing this while wearing skirts, I am sure they will fight against the rule together,” she added, hinting however that if it were to be implemented for good, she’d adapt herself.


Jwala Gutta is comfortable in wearing skirts but mentioned it should be turned into a rule : “It is good the world body wants to glamorise the sport but you can’t impose what to wear and what not to wear to anyone. We have a right to choose what to wear,”  she said in an interview on National Indian TV.


Yasmin Abrar, of India’s National Commission for Women, said: “Sports should be treated as sports. Forcing a dress code to make a game attractive is wrong. What is important is your performance, not what you wear.”


Chinese shuttlers also concerned


Comfort came as an issue as well in the words of Yu Yang, Olympic champion in 2008. “I don’t like wearing skirts. I am not used to them. When I wear a skirt, I don’t know how to play,” she told Xinhua.



Last year’s Asian Champion Li Xuerui, also voiced her concern to Xinhua: “I did wear a skirt in the All-England tournament last month but it was so big that even affected my performance,” she was quoted as saying  on Thursday.

BWF gives one extra month to get used to the rule

A few days after the media raised the issue all over the world, the governing body changed the date for the new rule to take effect to June 1st, allowing an extra month for the players to adapt.

We are, however, always willing to listen to the players, which is why we have decided to delay the implementation date slightly to 1 June to be able to advise and have a dialogue with the players on the implementation guidelines,” BWF Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho was quoted in the press release as saying.

The fact that the new rule becomes a reality only on June 1st may give a chance for key people to discuss the issue in the upcoming AGM on May 28th even if the BWF seems to be holding fast to its position so far.

Our Badzine poll on the issue is still open for those who wish to have their say on the rule.  Click here to access the poll

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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.