Record entry for badminton in Beijing Olympics

July 26th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 26 (Xinhua) A record 50 teams, including six from Africa, will participate in the badminton tournament at the Beijing Olympics. The wider participation was a result of the development of the sport and a reform by the World Badminton Federation (WBF), Ren Chunhui, executive vice-director of the badminton competing venue - Beijing University of Technology - said Friday.

There were 32 teams for the Athens Olympic Games fours years ago, and only one - South Africa - came from the African continent, Ren said.

The WBF introduced a new rule which stipulates that a country or region could have at most three shuttlers for one event and all of them must be among the world’s top four.

The new rule took away places from badminton superpowers and benefited other teams.

A total of 173 athletes are expected to fight for five Olympic titles during the nine-day event, with one from Zambia becoming the last athlete whose entry to the Games was confirmed.

The men’s singles will have 41 players, women’s singles 47, and the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles will have 16 pairs each.

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