Badminton: Denmark star Viktor Axelsen opposes new scoring plan

Viktor Axelsen listens during a press conference ahead of the Thomas and Uber Cups badminton tournament in Bangkok on May 19, 2018. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Badminton's top-ranked male player Viktor Axelsen said proposed changes to the way the sport is scored could disrupt the physically grueling aspect of competition and make it less interesting to watch.

The Badminton World Federation is considering amending the system to make games shorter and more intense in a bid to attract more fans to the sport, which already has a large following in Asia.

If adopted, players would compete against each other in the best of five 11-point sets, a departure from the current system of three 21-point sets.

But the idea and other new rules governing play being discussed at the federation's annual general meeting in Bangkok this weekend have been met with opposition by some shuttlers.

Speaking in the Thai capital ahead of the prestigious biennial Thomas and Uber Cups, which start on Sunday (May 20), Axelsen told reporters that changes would come too close to the Olympics and that in any case they would "take out the more physical part of the game".

"I'm afraid we won't see that as much if we play to 11 points even though it's five sets," he said.

"Also I know that some of the matches might be sort of boring to watch if there is too big of a difference in the level of players."

"I think that 21 points it's fine, I don't think it's a problem," the men's world champion added. "So I'd rather continue with how things are."

Coaching breaks may be also replaced by time-outs as part of the plans.

A video posted by the federation explaining some of the ideas said they would result in "more peaks, more intensity".

A BWF spokesperson said the annual general meeting is still ongoing and decisions have yet to be made.

Axelsen is returning to compete again with reigning Thomas Cup champions Denmark, who in 2016 made history by becoming the first non-Asian team to take the trophy.

In addition to scoring, the federation is also looking at the question of match-fixing after two Malaysian players were accused of it and handed career-ending bans and fines by the BWF this month.

Competition for the men's Thomas Cup and the women's Uber Cup begins Sunday morning with teams squaring off across four courts throughout the day.

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