New Delhi: Indian shuttlers and officials on Monday welcomed the Badminton World Federation's decision to defer the controversial mandatory skirt rule till December and hoped that the body would come up with a better regulation after fresh deliberations.
The BWF Council in its meeting in Qingdao, China decided not to introduce the regulations regarding the mandatory use of skirts and to "further investigate the new clothing regulations after accepting a recommendation from the Women in Badminton Committee."
The mandatory ruling was initially supposed to be implemented on May 1 but after feedback from various quarters, was deferred by one a month to June 1.
The rule had been fiercely opposed by India and some other Asian nations.
India's top doubles player Jwala Gutta said the BWF has done the right thing by going back to the drawing board to look for a more viable regulation.
"It is a very good decision by the BWF. They couldn't have gone ahead with the mandatory skirt ruling anyways. It can never be a compulsion on the players and it is good that they are rethinking about the decision," Jwala told PTI.
Badminton Association of India Vice President TPS Puri also welcomed the decision of the governing body.
"This is the right approach by the BWF. If it would have been made compulsory then many players would have become uncomfortable. A lot of nations, including India objected to the mandatory nature of the ruling and we welcome this decision of the governing body," Puri said.
The decision to defer the implementation of the ruling was made after receiving feedback from the Athletes Commission, which represents the players' interests in the BWF Council with full voting rights.
"There have been various feedbacks from many quarters and after taking into account all these comments, especially those from the Athletes' Commission, it is our recommendation to Council to do further study before implementing new clothing regulations," former world champion Nora Perry, who heads the Women In Badminton Committee, said.
"It is still our intention to focus on a better presentation of the game, but we would like to broaden the scope to include both men and women, and the feedback will also include views from various stakeholders such as the clothing manufacturers," said Perry.
"The Committee is also pleased that the BWF Council has accepted our recommendation and we would continue to work closely with the Athletes Commission, clothing manufacturers and other stakeholders to prepare a new proposal with a broader scope to Council in December," she added.
Jwala said it is good that the committee has decided to bring apparel manufacturers on board. "It is nice that they are working closely with the cloth manufacturers. Hopefully they can come out with designer on-court outfits which will help raise the glamour quotient and the profile of women in badminton," she said.
Former shuttler Madhumita Bisht, who became the national sub-junior champion in 1977 and went on to become an eight-time national singles champion and nine-time doubles winner, said the number of times the ruling has been deferred indicates that the BWF is taking time to come out with the right regulation.
"First they made it May 1, then June 1 and now December, it only shows they are on the right track and taking enough time to come out with the right decision," she said.
"Countries such as India, China, Indonesia and some European countries also objected to it and they can't make it mandatory. Now I hope they will go through it properly and talk with all the associations and come out with a right approach."
"It should always be the players' prerogative to decide what they would wear and what makes them comfortable. If the ruling is restrictive in nature, it will hamper their performance. The BWF will definitely look into it now," she added.