Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Text by Dev Sukumar | BADMINTONPHOTO
The recently-introduced Instant Review System makes its Major Events debut in the Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals next week.
The IRS will be available on one of the four courts at the top-tier event slated for Siri Fort Complex, New Delhi, for a week beginning on Sunday.
Following positive feedback on the system after it was first introduced at the BWF World Superseries Finals at Kuala Lumpur in December 2013, the IRS has been used at all five Superseries since then. It allows players two opportunities to challenge line calls during a match. Hawk-eye has been contracted by BWF to execute instant reviews.
In a statement to mark the tournament’s launch Press conference, BWF Secretary-General Thomas Lund said in a statement: “The Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals is one of our Major Events and we are constantly trying to make it even more competitive and exciting for spectators. We are also striving to provide badminton lovers with a unique experience. This is the first time we will be using the IRS (Instant Review System) in the Li-Ning BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals. I am sure it will add to the spectacle and interest.”
The Li-Ning BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals will see 16 teams each in the men’s and women’s sections competing for the ultimate reward of being crowned as the world’s best team. The 16 competing teams are divided into four groups; the event begins on Sunday 18 May with a round-robin format followed by a knockout phase, culminating with the Thomas Cup final on 25 May.
This is the first time India is hosting the Thomas & Uber Cup Finals and President of Badminton Association of India, Akhilesh Das Gupta, called it a “proud” moment.
“We have hosted the Thomas and Uber Cup qualifiers in the past but to host an event of this magnitude is something special,” said Gupta (above, with Saina Nehwal).
“We have an experienced team that has conducted four Superseries events and a World Championships in the past. The world’s top players are always looking forward to playing in India and I am sure the badminton lovers in this country are waiting to see these stars in action.”
China are defending champions in both the Thomas and Uber Cup. While the Chinese women take on Russia in the afternoon session of the opening day in Group W, the men face France in Group D in the evening session.
Among the many stars who fans can look forward to seeing in action, the most awaited will be China’s Lin Dan, Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and India’s Saina Nehwal.
“It always excites me to play in front of supporters and give my best for my country,” said the Indian Olympic medallist.
“It was at this venue that I won the Commonwealth gold and we reached the team championship final. I am sure it will be no different this time around.”