BKA to drop most age restrictions

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BKA to drop most age restrictions

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This file photo provided by Yonex shows South Korean badminton players posing after winning gold and silver in the men’s doubles event at the Macau Open on Nov. 4. From left are Shin Baek-cheol, Ko Sung-hyun, Lee Yong-dae and Kim Gi-jung. [YONHAP]

Korea’s badminton body will scrap age restrictions for non-national team members participating in international competitions, officials said on Wednesday.

Badminton Korea Association (BKA) said it will hold a board meeting on Monday to discuss a revision of its rules and will abolish a clause regarding the age restriction of non-national team players.

Presently, the BKA rule states that male badminton players who are aged 31 years or younger and not part of the national team cannot compete in international competitions. The age restriction for female players is currently 29.

But the rule was recently challenged by retired national team players who took the case to court claiming that it violates athletes’ rights. Following a second trial, the court ruled in favor of the athletes, which nullified the BKA’s rule.

Since then, the BKA has been allowing retired national team players to take part in international competitions. Ko Sung-hyun, Lee Yong-dae, Kim Gi-jung and Kim Sa-rang, who all made their names internationally in men’s doubles, were able to play in international competitions even after they retired from the national team.

With BKA’s decision, Lee Yong-dae and Kim Gi-jung won the men’s doubles title at the Macau Open earlier this month.

BKA has been claiming that if retired national team players keep competing in international competitions, it will block national team prospects’ opportunity since there is a limited number of seeds for each country. It also voiced concerns about national team sponsorship deals if retired players are allowed to compete freely at international competitions.

BKA said it thought about appealing the court’s decision, but decided to abolish the age restriction.

Yonhap

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