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Commonwealth Games 2002
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Badminton Tuesday, 18 June, 2002, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Scoring experiment ends at Games
An umpire overlooks a badminton match at the Sydney Olympics
Manchester marks the end of the 5x7 system

Badminton has proved to be a big hitter with Commonwealth Games fans since its introduction in 1966.

But as the sport celebrates its 10th successive appearance at the Games, this year's event promises to be different.

Manchester will witness the last time that an experimental scoring system, designed to boost TV ratings, is used at a major event.

Badminton bosses have been trying out a best-of-five games first to seven points format for the past two years.

open quote
After having had the experiment, it was apparent the majority of the members still favoured the old scoring system
end quote
Korn Dabbaransi
IBF president
But all men's singles and men's doubles matches will revert to 3x15 and women's singles will go back to 3x11 after the Commonwealth Games.

Women's doubles and mixed doubles will also be 3x11.

The decision was taken after a six-hour debate at an International Badminton Federation (IBF) council meeting in Guangzhou, China in May.

"After having had the experiment, it was apparent the majority of the members still favoured the old scoring system," said IBF president Korn Dabbaransi.

As a result, the new changes "will be put into effect on August 1 this year," said Dabbaransi.

The traditional best-of-three games 15-point format seen at previous Games had been abandoned in favour a new sharper system designed to make badminton more visually exciting.

The IBF developed the bold initiative over two years ago after some major events were cancelled because of the lack of sponsors.
The '5x7'system
Games: Each match is the best of five games
Points: A game is won by the first side to score seven points
Exceptions: If the score reaches 6-6, the side which first scored six points can continue to seven points, or 'set' the game to eight points
Serving: Only a serving side can add a point to its score and the side that wins a game serves first in the next game

The '5 x 7' format was first introduced at junior tournaments at the end of 2000, but was soon tried it out a senior events the following year.

The scoring experiment moved on to include all World Grand Prix events, the 2002 Thomas and Uber Cup competitions as well as the Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

One of the system's most tireless promoters has been the IBF's director of marketing and development Andrew Ryan, who believes that badminton must change in order to survive.

"We can't begin to compete with major world sport for exposure unless changes are made to what many perceive as an outmoded and tired product," said Ryan after the IBF meeting in Seville last year.

"We believe that 5 x 7 produces a system which spectators and TV audiences find more easier to follow.

"On the whole it reduces match lengths, reduces the pressure on players, and produces more critical points and therefore exciting matches, thus improving the appeal to TV companies and spectators."

But traditionalists, particularly from Asia, preferred the "slow burn" of 3x15, voting 12-8 to revert back to the old scoring system.

The decision means that the IBF will have to now find other ways to popularise the game and make it TV friendly.

Meanwhile, Manchester will bid farewell to badminton's grand scoring experiment.


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