Dongguan, China, May 16, 2015: Innovation; the importance of keeping badminton “a clean sport”; badminton’s inclusion in the Paralympic Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were among highlights of the President’s Review at the 76th BWF Annual General Meeting today.

Opening the yearly gathering – attended by 106 of the Badminton World Federation’s 182 member associations – Poul-Erik Høyer hailed 2014 as “a truly productive one (year) with some significant achievements” while stressing key areas on which the world-governing body must continue to focus and improve – including badminton’s standing as a sports-entertainment commodity.

“Badminton needs to deliver a really great product in the very competitive global sports market…to create more enjoyment and excitement for spectators and viewers and to meet the expectations of our fans,” he told delegates in Dongguan, China.

“Last year we made a really great effort to review the current scoring system which has been in place since 2006 – and I thank all those who participated in this. The testing has given valuable input to the process to develop the game. We, the Council, feel it is our obligation to keep on thinking about innovation and progress of our game, and the Council will again discuss this next Tuesday to determine what we need to do to follow up (on) the data collection process since November 2014.”

The BWF President also said badminton must continue to be a clean sport, “free of corruption and manipulation from external forces”.

“We take this seriously…Everyone has a role in this. As members – you all have an obligation to provide education programmes for our youth in the sport in the areas of anti-doping and anti-match fixing,” noted Høyer, adding that BWF is taking various measures in this regard.

Calling badminton’s inclusion on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games sports programme “one of the really great achievements of 2014”, he stated this “will be another opportunity to demonstrate that badminton is truly a sport for all”.

Alluding to yesterday’s Member’s Forum, he referenced the keynote address by retired Canadian Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Dixon, saying: “We heard an inspirational presentation from a really talented Paralympic champion…I can’t help but wonder which para-badminton stars will emerge in the next five years as we prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”

On a related note, Høyer said BWF has just entered another Olympic Qualification Period which will conclude with the Rio 2016 Olympic Games next year August “so we are looking forward to a very interesting year ahead of us”.

The President also acknowledged the vital role of BWF’s partnerships with sponsors, tournament hosts and its peers in the global sporting community such as the International Olympic Committee and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations – all of which bolster its position as a sports federation.

In closing, he underlined BWF’s commitment to supporting badminton’s development worldwide while reminding the membership that their work is “central to the long-term success of the sport”.

The chairs of the Council’s committees, such as Administration, Communications, Development, Events, Finance, Marketing and Para-Badminton, then reported on the past year’s progress in their respective areas of responsibility. —- BWF

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