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India’s women shuttlers express surprise at world body’s ‘skirt rule.’

posted 19 Apr 2011, 07:21 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Apr 2011, 07:24 ]

India's ace badminton players Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta react on the new dress code issued by the Badminton World Federation, which requires all female players to wear skirts in the Grand Prix tournaments and above, 'to ensure attractive presentation of badminton.'

HYDERABAD, ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA (APRIL 19, 2011) ANI - Skirt selection could be as crucial as shot selection for female badminton players when they hit the court during the India Super Series, scheduled to be held in New Delhi later this month.

Taking a cue from tennis, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) has introduced a new dress code requiring all female players to wear skirts in Grand Prix tournaments and above 'to ensure attractive presentation of badminton.'

While the Federation hopes the move will bring more fans to the sport and rope in more sponsors, everybody is not convinced it is the right way forward.

However, though many players have stopped short of calling the move wrong, they have urged the Federation to do a rethink on the issue.

Speaking to reporters in southern Hyderabad city, Jwala Gutta, ace player, said she had has no qualms about playing in a skirt but does not support the governing body's idea of making it compulsory.

"It is quite surprising. In fact, it would not affect me personally because I am wearing skirt all the time; on and off the court I wear skirts. So, personally it would not affect me. But imposing a rule onto someone who is not comfortable in skirts is a little not digestible. So, I think one federation should think twice, and ask for suggestions from the players before imposing such rules," said Gutta.

The new dress code has also met with opposition from shuttlers who maintain skirts and dresses are only worn on special occasions, and not in tournaments.

Those affected by the new regulation also include Saina Nehwal, the top seed in the April 26-May 1 Indian Super Series, even though the world-number three asserted she would not be losing sleep over the issue.

"We cannot fight with the Federation over this matter. If they have made a rule, we have to follow it. I think all players have started wearing skirts and let us see how it changes the game," said Nehwal.

According to the new rules, players may also continue to wear shorts if they wish to, but it has to be underneath a skirt, as some shuttlers already do.

The code comes into effect from May 1, 2011.