Neutral linesmen for Olympics badminton

July 26th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 26 (Xinhua) The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has decided to introduce third-party linesmen at the Beijing Olympics in an attempt to avoid biased calls. According to Ren Chunhui, executive vice-director for Olympic badminton competition venue at Beijing University of Technology, Olympics’ badminton competition requires 80 linesmen, 70 of which are taken from the local pool.

The other 10 linesmen from overseas will be designated to make calls for base lines and side lines during matches between overseas shuttlers and those from the host country China, Ren said Friday.

The over-rule of line calls by chair umpires was brought in to international competitions in 2006 to overcome problems with biased linesmen, and host countries were forced to bring in independent referees and umpires from other countries when running an international event.

However, it will be too costly for host countries to invite overseas linesmen, and introduce the hawk-eye line-calling system in badminton matches as well, which has been proved an efficient practice in tennis matches to reduce controversies over bad line calls.

A series of controversial line calls had angered China’s world No. 1 Lin Dan so much that he had thrown his racquet at South Korean coach Li Mao, earning himself a yellow card when he was playing against the eventual winner Lee Hyun-il of South Korea in the final of the Korean Open this January.

Such incidents were happening too often, and thus “damaging the image of our sport and undermines confidence in the results”, Anne Smillie, chair of the BWF sport committee, said in a statement when announcing investigation of the incident.

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