Badminton World Federation (BWF) has approved the use of synthetic feather shuttlecocks at internationally sanctioned tournaments of all levels from 2021, according to Lloyd Green, Communications and Media Manager of BWF. 

“The BWF has made it possible for shuttlecock manufacturers to seek approval under the BWF Equipment Approval scheme for versions of their synthetic feather shuttlecocks to be used in international competitions,” he said in a statement.

“The first synthetic shuttlecock approved by BWF has been developed with the technological cooperation of Yonex in an effort to increase sustainability within the sport,” the official said.

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“Extensive testing of various prototypes was conducted during the development phase of the project with Yonex, with new synthetic feather shuttles finally being tested at three BWF sanctioned international tournaments last year,” it is said.

“Feedback indicated that the Yonex synthetic feather shuttle was more durable and economical compared to a traditional natural feathered shuttle, whilst at the same time providing a very similar flight and performance,” Lloyd said.

"During the various tests it was discovered that the synthetic feather shuttle could reduce shuttlecock usage up to 25 percent, providing a significant environmental and economic edge for badminton going forward,” it is informed.

“Off the back of the testing, the BWF has now granted approval for the synthetic feather shuttlecock to be used in an official capacity at any international BWF sanctioned tournament from the beginning of 2021.”

“It will be up to the various tournament hosts in cooperation with any brands having an approved synthetic feather shuttlecock available, to decide in which tournaments the new synthetic feather shuttlecock version will be used,” he said.

“It is to be expected that there will be an implementation period of a number of years before the synthetic feather shuttlecock will be more widely used as the production capacity and general availability of new synthetic products will slowly increase to cover the expected demand,” the BWF official said.

“BWF is also now updating the general technical approval criteria within the Equipment Approval Scheme to ensure that any acceptable technical differences between synthetic and natural feather shuttlecock can be embraced within the approval process,” he concluded.