For Chinese badminton players, May 1 will be a remarkable day. It marks the opening of the 2012 Olympic qualifiers, and for most, the start of a dream for a medal.
But it will be more worrisome for some female players like China’s Yu Yang as they will be forced to wear skirts or dresses at major events from that day on.
A new mandatory rule announced by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) recently required all female players to wear standardized skirts or dresses in top-ranking tournaments like the Grand Prix and super series in a bid to make the sport and players’ appearance more attractive, Oriental Morning Post reports.
The rule takes effect on May 1, but players can test its real force at the Qingdao Sudirman Cup running from May 22 to 29, as those violating the rule will be fined for $250, according to the report.
But the badminton’s world governing body says it is being considerate to players who are not used to wearing skirts during a competition. “Players can continue to wear shorts if they wish, but simply wear a skirt over the top of the shorts,” said Darren Parks, the BWF Events Director.
World No 2 women’s doubles player Yu Yang feels anxious about the new rule as she does not like wearing a dress and has never worn one before.
Another top Chinese player Xu Jing expressed her distress over the new dress rule through her micro-blog on qq.com, “My doom’s coming! My record of not wearing a skirt will be broken (in the match)…Torture…”
However, Chinese badminton team’s head coach Li Yongbo seems supportive of the new rule. “We will abide by the BWF regulations. As long as it looks better and does good to the sport, we will support the rule,” said Li.