The Star Online

New scoring format for Thomas Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: Next year's Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Japan will use a 21-point rally scoring format. Hong Kong celebrity Sally Yeh is now the world badminton's ambassador. And India will host the World Championships for the first time.

These were among some interesting decisions made during the International Badminton Federation (IBF) council meeting at the Istana Hotel here yesterday.

In an effort to popularise the sport and be television-friendly, the council decided that the new 21-point best-of-three games will be experimented with from Feb 1 in all IBF tournaments that offers world ranking points.

After the Thomas-Uber Cup Finals in Japan from April 28-May 7, the council will decide if the scoring format is successful and should be adopted for all their tournaments, including the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

IBF event committee chairman Paisan Rangsikitpho said: We have decided to try the rally point scoring system from Feb 1 for both the men and the women. This is in line with our efforts to improve the presentation of the game.

A final decision will be made on whether to use scoring format on a permanent basis at the next council meeting in Japan.

Under these formats, a point is awarded for a rally won and whoever scores the point holds service. For the doubles, the winner of a rally holds service but there will be no second server.

There will be only breaks at the 11th point for all the events. Apart from that break, players will have to stay inside the court whenever play is stopped. Time will not be wasted and duration of a match can be shortened, he said.

In an effort to bring in the crowd, the IBF have also decided to inject entertainment into the sport.

Sally has been named the new IBF ambassador.

We also want our sport to entertain the crowd. Sally will be the right person to promote this game. She is loved by the public and has a great following, said council member Eraj Wijesinghe.

Meanwhile, India have been named as the host for the 2009 World Championships, the first time the country will host the meet.

Spain is hosting the world meet next year while Malaysia will host it in 2007.

Jakarta will host the 2008 Thomas-Uber Cup Final while the Sudirman Cup will be held in Guangzhou.

Compiled at Sally Yeh: The Effervescent Queen of Pop