New Straits Times » Sport Badminton: IBF reconsiders separation rule K.M. Boopathy July 14: ASIAN shuttlers can stop worrying about early meetings with compatriots in tournaments as the International Badminton Federation (IBF) is likely to reintroduce the nationality separation rule when conducting draws after the world championships in Birmingham on July 28-Aug 3. Previously, the nationality separation ensured no clashes among players from the same country in the preliminary rounds but IBF did away with it last September. IBF's intention was to make the draws more open and competitive but it only resulted in shuttlers from the same nations fighting for early survival. The rule especially affected China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Denmark. IBF vice-president Datuk Punch Gunalan said he has raised the matter with the executive council and it will be discussed during the world championships. "We tried out the new system in good faith but the current scenario is such that we may have to consider reintroducing the nationality separation rule," said Gunalan in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. "Our intention was to make the draw more open and competitive like tennis tournaments but early meetings between players from the same nations have became unavoidable. "The situation was so apparent in the All-England championships and it will be discussed at the council level in Birmingham." In the All-England, Chinese shuttlers were the worst hit. Chen Yu played Chen Gang in the second round and had the misfortune of playing Xia Xuanze in the quarter-finals while top seed Chen Hong met Bao Chunlai in the third round. Malaysian Yong Hock Kin played Wong Choon Hann in the second round and met eventual champion Hafiz Hashim in the quarter-finals while Danes Kenneth Jonassen and Niels Christian Kaldau met in the third round. Malaysians were also affected in the Dutch and Danish Opens last year and this prompted the BA of Malaysia (BAM) to write in to IBF, requesting the nationality separation rule to be utilised again. The seedings and draw of the IBF tournaments are conducted by the events council led by Jeff Robson. The first meeting will be held immediately after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Birmingham on July 27 and another meeting four days later. Gunalan also said that IBF will be considering that unlike tennis, shuttlers only earn prize money from the quarter-finals onwards and the current system could deprive more players from the same nation from earning prize money in a tournament. "In tennis, the prize money is lucrative and a player who loses in the first round earns a good sum but it is not the case in badminton. "Let's say that Malaysia spends about US$5,000 (RM19,000) to send four players for a five-star tournament, the cost can be covered if they can reach the last eight. "But it is not possible if the nationality separation rule is not used to determine the draw." However, the existing system will be used in conducting the draw for the world championships.