China’s former Olympic dominance in badminton is due to be challenged in Rio by rule changes and the rise of fresh world players.
The season-ending Australian Badminton Open in Sydney this week saw players from Spain and Thailand as world number one and two.
Players are now preparing to move on to Brazil for the Olympic Games.Four years ago, China swept all five titles at the 2012 London Olympic Games in a show of dominance, and the peerless team that set up the ‘Great Haul of China’ in London will line up almost unchanged at Rio.
But times have changed.
World badminton has changed the Olympic rules to limit nations to two singles entrants in each event, down from the three at London and previous games.
That means the Rio competition will be more open, despite some grumblings in china that the rule change is designed to limit China’s players.