‘BWF should give players longer breaks in marathon matches’

The women’s final between P.V. Sindhu and Japanese Nozomi Okuhara at the recent World Championships, in Glasgow, raised badminton’s profile in a big way, feels Christine Black, former President of Badminton Scotland.

“To be honest, I felt Sindhu overplayed a little bit, taking too long between points. But when you are playing a match that goes one hour and 50 minutes, you definitely need a little bit more time to take a quick drink,” said Black.

She has a badminton bronze medal but Christine Black has a rich and interesting Commonwealth Games legacy. Her husband, Olympian Chris Black, is a two-time CWG hammer throw medallist and her uncle Peter Heatly was the Chairman of the Commonwealth Games Federation for eight years, from 1982, apart from being a triple gold medallist in diving at the Games.

And Black, the former President of Badminton Scotland, is amazed at the attention the sport is getting in India.
“It’s fantastic. Of course, you have a lot of cricket on television but it was badminton on TV here last night. When we hosted the World Badminton Championships recently in Glasgow, we just got one hour on television,” said the 62-year-old Scot, now in Kochi for the Manorama BWF World Senior Badminton Championships, in a chat with Sportstar at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Tuesday.

“It’s amazing what you are doing. And the number of players you have playing in regional and local events, in singles particularly, it’s incredible.”

The women’s final between P.V. Sindhu and Japanese Nozomi Okuhara at the recent World Championships, in Glasgow, raised badminton’s profile in a big way, feels Black. It also gave her the feeling that the Badminton World Federation perhaps needs to look at the time offered to players between points and sets in such marathon matches.

“To be honest, I felt Sindhu overplayed a little bit, taking too long between points. But when you are playing a match that goes one hour and 50 minutes, you definitely need a little bit more time to take a quick drink,” said Black.
“The umpire could look at it as time-wasting but here the players were absolutely exhausted. And that’s going to happen more now because the fitness standards of players have improved and games are going to get longer and longer, so the world body has to look at it closely.

“But it has to be a general rule, not only for the final because you could have a semifinal which could be just as long.”
The Sindhu-Okuhara title clash was an unbelievable experience for her.
“It opened my eyes, it absolutely did. I even thought, ‘is Kirsty Gilmour looking at that?’ She is hoping to get into the world’s top 10 (the Scot is currently No. 22).

“And the shots the two played when they were tired and under so much pressure was just unbelievable.”