This photo taken on April 22, 2016 shows shuttlecocks during a training session with number one ranking badminton BWF Spanish player Carolina Marin (not in photograph) at High Performance Center (CAP) in Madrid. (GERARD JULIEN / AFP)
KUALA LUMPUR - Synthetic feather shuttlecocks will be introduced in a bid to make badminton sustainable starting from 2021, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) said on Monday.
The BWF said extensive testing and trials of the first approved Synthetic feather shuttlecock, which was joint developed with Yonex, proved that it is more economically viable and durable compared to traditional natural feather shuttlecocks.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said the approval of new shuttle is a positive step for the sport, expressing hope that the synthetic replacements would be accepted by players and stakeholders
"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," the badminton world governing body said in a statement.
"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 said.
The statement added that 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.
BWF said it 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.
A shuttlecock is a high-drag projectile used in the sport of badminton. It has an open conical shape formed by feathers embedded into a rounded base. It is formed from 16 or so overlapping feathers, usually goose or duck, embedded into a rounded cork base.
BWF said it was updating the general technical approval criteria within the Equipment Approval Scheme to ensure any technical differences between synthetic and natural feather shuttlecock would be incorporated in the approval process.
BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund said the approval of new shuttle is a positive step for the sport, expressing hope that the synthetic replacements would be accepted by players and stakeholders and hoped the new shuttlecocks would gain widespread use.
He Bingjiao of China hits a return during the women's singles semifinal match between He Bingjiao of China and Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei at Malaysia Masters 2020 badminton tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jan 11, 2020. (PHOTO BY CHONG VOON CHUNG / XINHUA)
"The vision is to ensure the long-term sustainability of badminton and become less dependent on using natural feathers for shuttlecocks," he said.
"We heard from some of the elite players involved in the testing of the Yonex synthetic feather shuttlecock that they were able to adjust to the slight variances between the synthetic feather version and the traditional natural feather shuttlecock quite quickly, so that is great news for the performance of the shuttle," he said.
HONG KONG NEWS