Badminton Life

Broadcasters Happy as BWF Brings Forward Olympic Draw

The draw for the badminton tournament of the Beijing Olympic Games has been brought forward by eight days to help ensure better coverage by television.

The draw was originally scheduled for August 4, which would have been only a few days before the first of the Olympic badminton matches.

It is now due to be held on July 26, according to a statement from world governing body, Badminton World Federation (BWF), who said the change in date was made at the request of television broadcasters.

BWF secretary general Stuart Borrie said: "Badminton will be one of the last sports to have finalised its draw for the Olympic Games and this is welcome news for broadcasters who have been pressuring BOCOG (Beijing Games organisers) for earlier information on the schedule of play for Day One.

"TV rights holders complete scheduling of programs and advertising well in advance and an earlier draw date for the first round of badminton is important for the sport and its reach on the first few days of competition."

The decision was welcomed all around, including by Liu Wenbin, deputy director of the Sports Department of BOCOG.

The draw will take place at the Beijing Henan Plaza Hotel and start at 4pm local time. The draw will be overseen by a panel comprising BWF president Dr Kang Young-joong, BWF technical delegate to the Games Paisan Rangsikitpho, BWF Sports Committee deputy chairman Torsten Berg and tournament referee Dennis Li.

The official website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games will also provide live updates of the draw as it happens.

As of this week, players from 50 countries had qualified to compete in the Olympic Games badminton competition compared to 33 nations that were represented at the Athens Olympics four years ago.

The badminton competition is expected to be among the most fiercely fought knockout events in the Olympics roster, with China's power men's and women's squads hoping for a clean sweep of all titles on offer.

World number one Lin Dan is the top seed in the men's singles event while Xie Xing Fang, his girlfriend, will have top billing in the women's singles competition.

China also have strong entries in the men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles competitions.

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